The Devil in my Shoes


Phil Kawana

*No longer in print


‘Kawana’s voice is engaging, able to shift gear from lyricism to anger, the literary to the colloquial.’ – Mark Williams


The first full collection of poetry by Phil Kawana, The Devil in my Shoes is engaging and personable.

Kawana’s childhood, where ‘Even the dog / was communal’, is the source of the poems’ strong and angry voice confronting political and social injustice: ‘We don’t allow / your kind in the house’, he was told by a friend’s mother at a birthday party. Powerful love poems and snippets of domestic life are held together by strong patterns of imagery.

‘I want to change the world / almost as much as my son / wants a new pair of shoes’, writes Kawana, and this collection expresses the triumphs and frustrations of that attempt.



Phil Kawana, of Ngāruahine, Ngāti Ruanui and Ngāti Kahungunu descent, is the author of two earlier books of short stories, Dead Jazz Guys and Attack of the Skunk People, the last including some poetry.


November 2005, 210 x 135 mm, 64 pages
Paperback, ISBN 9781869403522, $24.99