The Darling North
Auckland University Press, 2012
In these seven long-ish poems, Kennedy explores past and present, here and there, north and south, earth and paradise, hello and goodbye.
In unfolding couplets, ‘The Darling North’ engages with a woman’s past, her lover, her new landscapes, exploring the results of yearning and directional possibilities on the shores of the Hokianga. F. E. Maning and Seamus Heaney hover in the background as touchstones. ‘Hands On’ reconfigures the Little Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs and the Gingerbread Man stories; while other poems touch on a lost wedding ring, a significant birthday, remembered hills. Finally Kennedy offers two long poems about the dislocation of migration – a loose sequence of here-and-there sonnets that deal with the upheaval of a family move from New Zealand to Hawai‘i; and a final poem, ‘Hello Kitty, Goodbye Piccadilly’, in which the change and disturbances, effort and turmoils of adjusting to ‘Paradise’ move towards acceptance and belonging.