James Brown


JAMES BROWN lives in Wellington with his partner and two children, where he makes a living as a freelance copy-editor and writer. His three books of poetry – Go Round Power Please, Lemon and Favourite Monsters – are all published by Victoria University Press. A fourth collection, The Year of the Bicycle, is in the pipeline. He is also the author behind the popular non-fiction booklet Instructions for Poetry Readings (Braunias University Press).

About ‘The Wicked’ James writes: ‘I began the poem in 2003 and put it aside due to lack of time before picking it up again during my stint as the 2004 Writer in Residence at Victoria University. I wanted to write an angry poem simply because I think anger is quite a hard thing to express successfully in poetry. There are a lot of poems about things that might make a reader feel angry, but they still tend go about detailing them in quite restrained ways. I wanted “The Wicked” to sound angry. I don’t recall being angry about anything when actually writing it, but it certainly wasn’t hard to find things to feel angry about. The poem contrasts small, domestic annoyances with a much more significant site of anger, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, in order to show that there isn’t necessarily a smooth correlation between cause and response. I tried to imagine how I might respond if I were forced to live as the Palestinians are forced to live or if a member of my family had been killed by the opposing side, and concluded that it would be very hard for me to turn the other cheek. As a cyclist, there are often times when I fear for my life, and mostly the flight reflex kicks in and I go onto the footpath, but sometimes, if the opportunity presents itself, the desire to fight back briefly takes over. Am I an angry young man? I doubt it (for starters, I’m no longer young), but I can be impatient, and unfairness and bullying always raise my hackles.’


Poem: The Wicked



New Zealand Book Council writer file

Turbine 04: ‘In the Batcave’ (interview)

Turbine 04: ‘Cork Oak Day’

Turbine 03: ‘I Come From Palmerston North’

Victoria University Press

nzepc - new zealand electronic poetry centre: link to online poems

nzepc - new zealand electronic poetry centre: James Brown bio

nzepc - new zealand electronic poetry centre: ‘Island Bay’

Poetry Café

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