Photo by V.Billot
There was a commotion outside the window.
A million people arrived overnight and moved swiftly
to assemble petrol stations, delicatessens and strip joints.
Signs point everywhere you cannot go.
I think of the past to hold myself down.
There are more products than you can imagine.
Throttled streets lined with plates of black ice.
I sift endless papers that rustle with a faded sound.
Nicotine eyes watch from doorways
and stare without relief. Houses are pulverized
by hornet-painted demons.
There have been twenty nights of inexplicable terror
and black shapes twirling fire in the avenues,
banging on walls, screaming cats and violent pauses
between days and nights and days.
Everyone wears the same inscrutable mask.
The rain allows escape when we drive onwards
down the tributaries of the Underworld.
From Ambient Terror
Released 10 May 2017 at the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival, Ambient Terror is the third volume of poetry from Dunedin writer Victor Billot.
Refusing to be confined into one stylistic box, Ambient Terror is propelled forward by a sense of urgency reflecting the compressed reality of the 21st century. It is poetry that is equally up to the task of attacking socio-political themes or experimenting with language. It ‘takes in the world’, whether discussing depression and anxiety (Ambient Terror and Ghost Beat), mortality (Voice in Darkness and Selene), contemporary political topics (The Oversharing Economy and Beast of the Hour), or personal relationships (Congress and Monsoon Season).
“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)
Available online or at University Bookshop Dunedin.
Massive week at the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival 2017. Launched Ambient Terror at Chain Reaction, a multiple book launch with fellow Dunedin Writers Peter Olds, John Gibb, Paddy Richardson and Huberta Hellendoorn, at the Athenaeum on Wednesday night, followed on directly by MCing the launch of Manifesto: 101 Political Poems at the Leviathan. Friday night was back down to the Leviathan to discuss the End of the World with Toby Manhire, Jean Balchin, Craig Cliff, Lucy Hunter and Joe Higham.
Jean Balchin at End of the World
Selina Tusitala Marsh
Books for sale
Friday 11 May 8.30–9.30pm at the Leviathan Hotel, Dunedin – entry by koha
Writers get together with host Victor Billot and share a mix of theories, essays and stories about life at the End of the World, over a beer. A recent New Yorker article titled ‘Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich’ revealed that wealthy Silicon Valley doomsdayers are looking to far-flung Aotearoa as the favoured spot in the event of a cataclysm.
Where our isolation was once considered a major flaw, it’s now one of our greatest assets. But is it – or will it really be – so safe down here at the end of the world? Join us for a close consideration of our slice of paradise and its merits … or lack thereof. Featuring English student and writer Jean Balchin; 2017 Burns Fellow Craig Cliff; Critic editors Lucy Hunter and Joe Higham; and Spinoff political editor Toby Manhire(pictured).
Please note that space is limited so admission cannot be guaranteed.
Curated by Pirate & Queen. Sponsored by the Department of English and Linguistics, University of Otago.
A group book launch to celebrate a goodly crop of new publications: Peter Olds’ poetry collection Taking My Jacket for a Walk (Cold Hub Press); Paddy Richardson’s novel Through the Lonesome Dark (Upstart Press); Victor Billot’s third volume of poetry Ambient Terror (Limetone Singularity); Huberta Hellendoorn’s memoir Astride a Fierce Wind (Makaro Press); and John Gibb’s poetry collection Waking by a River of Light (Cold Hub Press).
Wednesday 10 May, 5.00–6.30pm
Athenaeum Library (Free), The Octagon, Dunedin
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