Author(s): Gordon Challis
Gordon Challis's second collection of poetry comes 40 years after his first, Building. From thattime he worked as a psychologist and mental health worker in Hastings, Canberra and Porirua, retiring in 1988 in a state he describes as terminal burnout. Gordon began writing again the following year and the poems in this collection show a clear reversal of this collapse. Less bleak than his previous work, but no less reflective, he describes mental and natural states with equal but understated care ? he is, himself, 'thralled by centres surfaces and all the dark progressions.' Many of the poems in this collection, after quiet openings, surprise with their power ? as in Direction' when a personal narrative becomes suddenly universal. Gordon is perhaps at his best when exposing the many gaps between ideology and reality however you approach it, with your left brain or your right. His poetry has featured in Landfall, the Listener, the Times Literary Supplement, the Manchester Guardian, and been included in numerous anthologies, most recently Oxford's New Zealand Poetry (1997).