The Darling North

Anne Kennedy


‘From now on in conversations about the north I will describe the harbour I saw, its wild silence.’


In the seven long-ish poems of her new collection, multi-talented writer Anne Kennedy explores past and present, here and there, north and south, earth and paradise, hello and goodbye.

In unfolding couplets, ‘The Darling North’ engages with a woman’s past, her lover, her new landscapes, exploring the results of yearning and directional possibilities on the shores of the Hokianga. F. E. Maning and Seamus Heaney hover in the background as touchstones. ‘Hands On’ reconfigures the Little Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs and the Gingerbread Man stories; while other poems touch on a lost wedding ring, a significant birthday, remembered hills. Finally Kennedy offers two long poems about the dislocation of migration – a loose sequence of here-and-there sonnets that deal with the upheaval of a family move from New Zealand to Hawai‘i; and a final poem, ‘Hello Kitty, Goodbye Piccadilly’, in which the change and disturbances, effort and turmoils of adjusting to  ‘Paradise’ move towards acceptance and belonging.

Though separate and various in tone and form, these poems wave and tip their hats to one another – adding further pleasures to this sparklingly original collection by one of our most interesting writers.


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Anne Kennedy is a writer of fiction, screenplays and poetry. She weaves many influences and images into her writing including music, art and film, all underpinned by a wry humour and a sparkling imagination. Long known for the poetic qualities of her fiction, she turned to her hand to poetry in 2003 with the sequence Sing-song, which was named Poetry Book of the Year at the 2004 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Kennedy followed up this success with The Time of the Giants in 2005, which was shortlisted at the 2005 book awards. Anne Kennedy currently lives and teaches creative writing in Hawai‘i.


Winner of the New Zealand Post Book Award for Poetry 2013


May 2012, 215 x 160 mm, 80 pages
Paperback, ISBN 978 1 86940 593 9, $24.99