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Homegrown Books: then the wind came

Thalia Henry recommends then the wind came by Iona Winter - Steele Roberts, 2018

Iona Winter lives in Karitane on the Otago Coast. then the wind came is her debut collection of poetry and short fiction.

She has been shortlisted for The Best Small Fictions (USA 2019) and the Bath Novella-in-Flash Award (UK 2018) and has performed her work at numerous literary events.

In 2016 she won the Headland Frontier Prize (NZ).


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I was drawn to pick up this poetry and story collection because of the simple, yet stunning cover, white on black, birds circling a cliff face. The poet, Iona Winter, though we've not met, lives in Karitane, where I grew up, and I was curious whether the image reflected the Huriawa Peninsula and the wild natural landscape, home to two breathing blowholes. The collection is divided into four parts: Whenua Earth, Angi Air, Ahi Fire and Wai Water. I read this collection in four sittings. Like the blowholes, each section working as a whole and each piece standing alone inspires reflection and needs breathing space.

Iona Winter weaves themes of humanity, dysfunction, and adversity beneath a bicultural lens, pertaining to a personal and indigenous connection with nature, whanau and community. She illustrates stark truths with a pervading sense of hope and resilience. The collection includes a clear synthesis with identity: past, present and future.

As Siobhan Harvey says on the back cover, Iona's poems are "complex, traumatic, and ultimately celebratory. This book confirms Iona Winter as a profound writer who is a welcome, necessary voice in the literature of Aotearoa, New Zealand."

I wholeheartedly recommend this collection. it's powerful. You'll need to prepare to have your mood touched with cathartic melancholy, and to soar with birds above places that catch the lift of your own experiences, histories and knowing, above ground that you may be afraid and then lightened to land.


then the wind came is available from Steele Roberts and at your local bookstore..

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