David Howard


Born in Christchurch (1959), DAVID HOWARD co-founded both the literary quarterly Takahe and the Canterbury Poets Collective. A past winner of the New Zealand Poetry Society Competition (1987) and a finalist in Ireland’s Davoren Hanna Poetry Competition (2001), five years ago David retired from a career as SFX supervisor for acts such as Metallica and Janet Jackson in order to write from his isolated studio at Purakanui. His books include the out-of-print Shebang (Steele Roberts, 2000) and How To Occupy Our Selves [with Fiona Pardington] (HeadworX, 2003). His long poem ‘There You Go’ was recently set as a cantata for solo female voice & piano by the Czech composer Marta Jirackova. ‘The Harrier Suite’ first appeared in brief #30 (Winter 2004), pp 36-40.

Howard comments: ‘With the lights out it’s less dangerous. At Purakanui I enjoy the indifference of the world to my designs upon it. Here we are now, entertain us. I don’t think so. I feel stupid and contagious. I draft to Nirvana; Kurt Cobain’s lyrics echo Arthur Schopenhauer’s Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (1819). A theme: the World as Will and Representation. It’s fun to lose and to pretend. While Cobain rages off the page, Thomas Mann’s postscript to suicide is my intro. If it’s reportage (and more) then so is the courtship of the harrier. From July until October I look out:

Sometimes the male
dives on the female, forcing her to roll
over and present her claws . . .

‘Authority. The dictionary declares that a suite is “a composition of several movements only loosely connected”. There is no argument. Instead Mann’s notion of “aesthetic caprice” mediates Cobain’s despair. She’s over bored and self assured. The predatory ambiguity of our manners – ritualized ambition – and the judgement of the harrier, which is categorical. Perhaps. Yay, a denial.’


Poem: The Harrier Suite



New Zealand Book Council writer file


Jacket 25

Philip Mead

Peter Simpson

Terry Locke

Fiera Lingue


  <       Top       >