Respirator: A Poet Laureate Collection 2019–2022 Poetry - David Eggleton

Respirator: A Poet Laureate Collection 2019–2022 Poetry - David Eggleton

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Respirator is a sumptuous celebration of David Eggleton’s tenure as the nation’s poet-at-large during his time as Aotearoa NZ Poet Laureate (2019–22).

In this collection of probing, kaleidoscopic and richly sensuous poems, Eggleton explores how the social changes and upheavals of the past four extraordinary years manifested in Aotearoa New Zealand, from the impact of living through a pandemic to ecological concerns, technological changes, and shifting viewpoints about identity and global consumerism.
Respirator stands as a powerful artistic record of an unprecedented historical moment.

Australia’s heat map in January
glowed every which way, red, purple, black,
and our skies were made yellow by trans-Tasman smoke,
while scarcely less fraught were dog days of February,
as arrivals drifted through airport duty-free,
in a haze of competing perfume spritzes,
and reports came of a strange virus out of Wuhan,
pale horse and pale rider.

— ‘Rāhui: Lockdown Journal’


David Eggleton (Rotuman Fijian/Tongan/Pākehā) has published ten previous poetry collections. He is a six-time winner of the Montana Reviewer of the Year, and a former Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago. He received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in poetry in 2016, the same year that The Conch Trumpet won the Poetry Award at the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. From 2009–17, Eggleton was editor of Landfall. He received the 2018 Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writers’ Residency and served as the New Zealand Poet Laureate 2019–22.

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