Ambient Terror available now

Ambient-Terror-coverReleased 10 May 2017 at the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival, Ambient Terror is the third volume of poetry from Dunedin writer Victor Billot.

“Ambient Terror is an excellent collection from the talented Victor Billot. He has his finger right on the zeitgeist, and accurately portrays the spirit of our times for New Zealanders … a very gifted poet who deserves to be widely read …” (Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2018)

“[A] rolling, blustering word-river of nanobytes, phrase chunks, alliterations and acrobatic satirical loops, held together by number-eight wire rhyme – great fun …” (Landfall Review Online, November 2017)

“Billot can be compelling and punchy. He is an exciting, wild noise, yet one supported by genuine imagination and ingenuity.” (Otago Daily Times review 6 May 2017)

“ … brilliantly wry and trenchant observations of our contemporary political culture and its mediation by pop culture and social media.” (NB Dunedin Libraries magazine, July 2017)

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu. Paperback available online at Lulu or at University Bookshop Dunedin.

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu. Ebook available online free for a limited time


A launch: Compound Press presents Minarets Issue 8

NZ Poetry Shelf

Compound Press presents Minarets Issue 8  Autumn 2018

Edited by Erena Shingade

Illustrations by Harry Moritz

Launch at 7pm, Saturday 28 April at the Compound Press headquarters, 5c 55-57 High Street.

Minarets Issue 8 presents the freshest new writing from a mix of emerging and established New Zealand poets, alongside contributions from two international poets. Humorous, adventurous, and though-provoking, the journal brings a slice of the most intriguing new writing from here and overseas to the table.

Featuring the following New Zealand and international authors: Victor Billot, Freya Daly Sadgrove, Lee Thomson, Zack Anderson (USA), Murray Edmond, Courtney Sina Meredith, Manon Revuelta, Naomi Scully (USA).


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Ambient Terror reviewed in New Zealand Poetry Yearbook 2018

The writer Laura Solomon has written a very generous review of Ambient Terror for the just released Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2018.

Published by Massey University Press and edited by Jack Ross, the revamped magazine also features a wide range of work from New Zealand poets including a substantial feature on the work of Alastair Paterson, and a very wide range of established and less known poets, along with reviews and essays.

I’ve reproduced the review in full below (as you don’t get your tyres pumped up like this everyday), but I urge readers to purchase a copy of the Yearbook.

Ambient Terror is an excellent collection from the talented Victor Billot. He has his finger right on the zeitgeist, and accurately portrays the spirit of our times for New Zealanders. As the title would suggest, a feeling of unease pervades the poems, and they paint a realistic, if sometimes depressing, picture of life in twenty-first-century New Zealand.

 There are some great comic moments, such as when the Prince of Darkness attends a Work and Income interview, although this poem also carries a serious message. Some poems are quietly moving, such as when Billot writes about a child who may be his son in ‘A Boy’, and the haunting final poem ‘Song of the Sea’ where the narrator intones:

 The wind is blowing all night long
And from its thread it sews a song
You once were here, but now you have gone
The wind is blowing all night long.

 The smart and enjoyable ‘FVEY’ is about the invasion of privacy in a digital age, and ends with the lines ‘Everything about you analysed, scrutinised and known.’

But just for now we’ll let you keep your unspoken thoughts your own.

 A sense of fighting off the darkness and of the poet exploring various hells comes through in these poems. ‘New Seasons of the Blue Fields’ contains the line ‘sorrow flows through the streets like a river’, and in ‘Economics’ he ‘drives onwards, down the tributaries and channels of the Underworld.’

Familiar scenes from New Zealand life are depicted in poems such as ‘Westport Race Day’, where people place bets on horses named Southern Sky, Our Lad and No Regrets, or ‘Port Chalmers’, where the channel lights ‘wink the way home in a cheery salute of green and red’.

 Teenage life is portrayed, too, in poems such as ‘Quantum Decoherence at a Bailter Space Gig’, where the narrator has his ‘neural networks reformatted’ and feels his life changed by the gig. In ‘Teenage Pissup on the Kaikoura Coast’ the poet heads north for New Year’s Eve fuelled by screwdrivers and Camel cigarettes, parties through the night, and in the morning drives into the rising sun in search of breakfast, which is found at the Kekerengu tearooms.

‘Trial By Fire’ is an eerie number which could be about the poet’s art or maybe just about getting through life in one piece. Perhaps the narrator is being ironic when he says ‘It is your choice, your decision’. He is put to trial by various subjects: water, disorder, ice, knife, blood, kisses, mirror, flood, number, winter and glimmer of hope. It seems these trials will go on forever as the poem ends with the line ‘trial from now until the end of the road’.

Victor Billot is a very gifted poet who deserves to be widely read; his audience his reward for depicting New Zealand life so well and having the courage to explore the infernal realms.