Publisher behind Book Awards Finalist releases second book

Hue & Cry Press will publish its second book in October, ancv_one_human_in_height exciting debut collection of poems titled One Human in Height from Wellington writer Rachel O’Neill. One Human in Height follows the 2012 debut release for Hue & Cry Press, A Man Runs into a Woman by Sarah Jane Barnett, which was a finalist in the Poetry category of the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards.

Publisher Chloe Lane said Hue & Cry Press has had a lot of support launching its first two titles. “The success of our first book, Sarah Jane Barnett’s debut collection, in review and then being shortlisted at this year’s Book Awards, has been wonderful for raising the profile of Hue & Cry Press.”

One Human in Height is a book of exuberant and at times irreverent prose poems that fuse remembered experience, family life, and relationships with broader human legacies, from popular culture, and social history, through to digital technology.

Bernadette Hall, one of the judges at the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards, wrote the blurb for One Human in Height. She says of O’Neill’s collection, “I think of the poems in this lovely book as an installation, a series of windows in a long wall. The view is constantly flexing and shifting … And a question arises, something to do with how are we to locate ourselves. In the stuff of our lives, the attic clutter, the absurdity, the ‘really creepy shocks of inheritance’. In the twists and tricks of language. In ‘fluctuations of light’.”

The book includes a thief who plays a musical interlude on an oboe before getting down to business, a botanical species, the Kafka Diver, that lures in guests for an unusual holiday on the sub-alpine platform, a talent show called Wicked Witch Idol, and a parachutist who free-falls to her family reunion. “We all sift through the drift of inheritance to find what is magnetic, useful and active. I wanted the poems to do the same – to lend freshness to our habits of looking and thinking,” said O’Neill.

Hue & Cry Press was born as an extension of the acclaimed art and literary journal, Hue & Cry. The Press continues to successfully fund its books through the crowd funding website, PledgeMe, with O’Neill’s collection more than doubling its donation target.

“The results blew us away,” said Lane. “We’re reallypp_rachel_oneill excited about the release of One Human in Height, and it’s wonderful to know that our second full-length title is already gaining attention from the New Zealand literary and art community.”

Rachel O’Neill’s writing has appeared in a range of publications, including Best New Zealand Poems 2011, Paper Radio, Hue & Cry, Turbine, JAAM, and Brief. She was a short story finalist in the inaugural The Long and the Short of It competition run by Sport and Unity Books. She completed a Masters in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters in 2008.

One Human in Height will be launched Friday 11 October, 5.30PM, at City Gallery Wellington.

The launch of One Human in Height is a public programme event for New Revised Edition: Nick Austin, Andrew Barber, Nicola Farquhar, John Ward Knox, 24 September – 1 December 2013, City Gallery Wellington

Book review: A Man Runs into a Woman by Sarah Jane Barnett

This book is in bookstores now

Let me start by saying, how intrigued I am by the great successes being achieved in crowdfunding of cultural projects in New Zealand at the moment. The printing of A Man Runs into a Woman was funded through It is heartening to see that creativity in arts and culture is so highly valued by the people.

A Man Runs into a Woman is a collection of poetry and short prose and a collection of juxtapositions. The poem from which the book takes its title, The Geographer, describes the first meeting between a daughter and her cross-dressing father after the father’s transformation:
In my dream a man runs into a woman
with a small papoose. When he was younger my father
was a runner.
my father is also a woman.
‘What makes someone a runner? my friend asks.

The poem explores the difficulties both have talking about the change, and signals a transformation in the relationship.

The poems in this collection are not very dynamic, in spite of the fact that ‘running’ is mentioned a lot. If there is movement, it is slow and deliberate. People are sitting on the porch or in prison, parked in cars or they are lying in bed, reflecting. Reflecting on the title, Sarah Jane Barnett is mainly concerned with the moment of impact – in slow motion – and its aftermath. The texts are introspect in retrospect.

The collection is divided into three parts. The middle part is devoted to the last thoughts of actual American death row prisoners. The poems are broken up by descriptions of the crimes that have landed them there. At first, I struggled to understand how these poems would fit in with the rest of the book. They seemed completely at odds. Straight from themes a New Zealand reader could relate to, to the quagmire of the American hinterland. But then it dawned on me that these poems indeed go very nicely with the theme of stillness and observance.

A Man Runs into a Woman is Sarah Jane Barnett’s first collection of poetry. She is currently working towards her PhD in Creative Writing with Massey University in Wellington.

Reviewed by Melanie Wittwer

A Man Runs into a Woman
by Sarah Jane Barnett
Published by Hue & Cry Press
ISBN 9780473213992