Best New Zealand Poems 2002
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GLENN COLQUHOUN was born and raised in South Auckland and has published three books of poetry. The Art of Walking Upright won the Jessie Mackay Best First Book of Poetry Award at the 2000 Montana New Zealand Book Awards and ‘To a woman who fainted . . .’ was published as part of his latest collection of poems, Playing God, touching on his experiences in medicine. Colquhoun has also written a children’s picture book called Uncle Glenn and Me, which he considers to be more fun than the poetry. He says, ‘I would advise anyone interested in reading my work to begin there as it is my most considered work to date.’

About his poem, Colquhoun comments: ‘I would have to start by saying it is based on an experience at the Dans Palais last year during Writer’s and Readers week in Wellington. An elderly woman fainted at the back of the tent during a poetry reading I had taken part in which meant that because people knew I was a doctor I was beckoned from the front of the venue to assist. I found her pale and frail but she soon felt better lying flat and chatting while we waited for an ambulance. The trick, as most doctors will tell you, is to make people think everything is under control. This seems also true of poetry! The last I saw of her she was on her way to hospital and I was left with a heap of paperwork. It seems fainting needs the appropriate endorsements. I was teased considerably afterwards and have to say that it is the most direct example of the overlap between my careers in both poetry and medicine that I have yet experienced. It seemed too good an opportunity not to write about and some sort of quid pro quo for being put in the situation. I guess that is why I adopted the mock serious tone. It was a way of taking the teasing seriously and considering the possible links between poetry and fainting as a conceit for a poem. Maybe I just had nothing else better to do! I have to say I had great fun writing it because it is essentially a giant piss-take.’



Steele Roberts Ltd Publications

New Zealand Book Council

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