Are Friends Electric? offers a vivid and moving vision of a past, present and future mediated by technology. The first part of Helen Heath’s bold new collection is comprised largely of found poems which emerge from conversations about sex bots, people who feel an intimate love for bridges, fences and buildings, a meditation on Theo Jansen’s beautifully strange animal sculptures, and the lives of birds in cities. The poems investigate how we incorporate technology into our lives and bodies. In a series of speculative poems poems on grief, Heath asks how technology can keep us close with those we have lost. How might our experiences of grieving and remembering be altered?
Cover art by Kerry Ann Lee.
Graft was published in 2012 and won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book for Poetry Award in 2013.
The poems in Graft attempt to bring things together – ideas and cultures, people, sometimes to heal. Sometimes there are unlikely pairs: science and magical thinking, fact and fiction, myth and history. Sometimes there are more predictable pairings with less predictable outcomes – mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. They dig away at things, trying to find a truth or an answer or a lost person. What we find is often not what we are looking for.
After reading these poems, I feel like my brain has been flipped around a couple of times, in the best way.
– Hera Lindsay Bird
Hear Helen talk to Our Changing World about Graft.
Review on Booksellers NZ blog by Hera Lindsay Bird.
Review on Landfall online by Tim Upperton.
Graft on Good Reads.
On Reid's Reader.
Cover art by Billie-Joye Stewart.