That's the boy, she'll say,
that's the boy in you -
sitting on some bench, or beach
gazing into the same
maddening distance. It's
the boy in her, she says,
that likes the girl in you. Ah, to be
a person, that's hard
enough. Sleep now. Get some sleep,
that's the boy.
-- Andrew Johnston
'Juliet' is from Andrew Johnston's most recent book, Do You Read Me? (2013), a collaboration with typographer/artist Sarah Maxey. Comprising 26 poems with accompanying pictures, one for each of the alphabet call signs, the collection offers an inventive and sonorous ensemble of colour-bands, sound-waves, patterns of thought and voice. It also contains a memorable meditation on that dubious New Zealand invention from the 1980s, the bungee: 'It was on the bungee jump / I was introduced to / the art of oscillation / ... it was on the bungee jump / my smile became a frown.'
Born 1963, in Upper Hutt, New Zealand, Andrew Johnston has lived in France since 1997. He has published five collections of poetry and, in 2009, co-edited with Robyn Marsack Twenty Contemporary New Zealand Poems (Carcanet/Victoria University Press). In 2004 he founded The Page, a site devoted to on-line literature, reviews and poetry, which he edited until 2009. (The site continues under the lively stewardship of John McAuliffe and others at the Centre for New Writing, Manchester University.) Johnston's double-sestina, 'The Sunflower', is deservedly considered one of the best New Zealand poems of recent years (it can be read in full here.
More poems, essays and other material: http://andrewjohnston.org/