Sarah Broom


These poems uncover in a catch of breath and heart what it means to hold on – and let go. – Janet Charman


In the powerful new poems of Gleam, Sarah Broom explores the effect of a life-threatening condition by way of the landscapes of the natural world, charting the hardest things in beautiful language. Spare, poised and beautiful, the poems in Gleam have the grace and lightness of some of its own favourite images – of drifting feathers or the delicate cartilages of birds in flight.

Here Broom brings us not just to the deepest questions of existence but to an experience of mortality itself. The poems catalogue the restorative handholds offered by the sea, the beach, the forest – even as fires burn there, birds die, fish are gutted, poems fail – but also note the small human resonances of the everyday: blocked drains and healing porridge, iceblock wrappers and unopened mail.

Gleam is a striking exploration of what is worth examining; who may be held on to; what is worth saving.


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Sarah Broom (1972–2013) was born and educated in New Zealand before moving to the England for post-graduate study at Leeds and Oxford. She lectured at Somerville College, Oxford, before returning home in 2000. She has held a post-doctoral fellowship at Massey (Albany) and lectured in English at Otago University. Broom published her first book of poetry, Tigers at Awhitu, with Auckland University Press in 2010, and is also the author of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). Sarah Broom died in Auckland in April 2013 as Gleam was being finalised for press.


August 2013, 216 x 135 mm, 64 pages
Paperback, ISBN 978 1 86940 770 4, $24.99