Sarah Broom was a New Zealand poet whose work is deeply rooted in the beauty and raw power of the New Zealand landscape.
With a doctorate in modern poetry from Oxford and several lectureships under her belt, Sarah started a young family and wrote her own poems. With two small sons and pregnant with her third child she was diagnosed with stage iv lung cancer. Sarah survived for over five years during which time she published her first collection Tigers at Awhitu. Her second collection Gleam was published posthumously in August 2013.
Sarah is also the author of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and her own poetry has been published widely in journals, including Landfall, Bravado, Takahe, Poetry New Zealand and, in the UK, Orbis, Metre, Acumen and Oxford Magazine.
Although Sarah was taken tragically young, she leaves behind a significant legacy in the form of her work, the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize and Archive. It is with pleasure and pride we present two of her poems here.
Spare, poised and beautiful, the poems in Gleam have the grace and lightness of some of its own favourite images – of drifting feathers or the delicate cartilages of birds in flight.
In her second collection of poetry, Sarah Broom brings us not just to the deepest questions of existence but to an experience of mortality itself. The poems catalogue the restorative handholds offered by the sea, the beach, the forest – even as fires burn there, birds die, fish are gutted, poems fail – but also note the small human resonances of the everyday: blocked drains and healing porridge, iceblock wrappers and unopened mail.
Gleam is a striking exploration of what is worth examining; who may be held on to; what is worth saving.
Tigers at Awhitu (2010)
Against a backdrop of many times and landscapes, the poems in Tigers at Awhitu, the first, luminous book by Sarah Broom, chart the drifts and tides of intimate relationships, the physical extremes of illness, the complexities of motherhood. Here a refugee family walks north on a frozen road; a solitary figure sleeps in the desert outside a fabular city; a mother watches a child’s first gesture.
With tough, deft attention to language and its emotional power, Sarah Broom asks us to consider our relationships with the world and with words. Hers is an unflinching and original new voice in New Zealand poetry.
Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (2005)
Contemporary British and Irish Poetry provides an engaging, stimulating and lively introduction to the subject. Sarah Broom covers poets from a broad range of ethnic and regional backgrounds and explores a wide variety of poetic styles, including well-known names like Seamus Heaney and Carol Ann Duffy alongside more experimental poets like Tom Raworth and Geraldine Monk. The book discusses all of the most compelling issues with which students, readers and writers of poetry are engaged today.
Including close readings of individual poems, and providing a sense of the parameters of the relevant critical and theoretical debates, this is an indispensable guide for all those interested in the work of some of Britain’s and Ireland’s most successful and exciting contemporary poets.
Tigers at Awhitu (2010)
Sarah Broom’s poetry profoundly engages the landscape of her native New Zealand. Experienced as both nurturing and menacing, tender and indifferent, it is the context within which other terrains are explored: heightened states of awareness, the physical extremes of illness, the drifts and tide of close relationships, the complexities of motherhood. Intensely conscious of death, her poetry is fiercely attached to life and love.
SARAH’S POETRY FEATURES IN:
Dear Heart: 120 New Zealand Love Poems
This collection of 150 of New Zealand’s finest love poems, written from the 1930s onwards, includes two poems from Sarah Broom celebrating love. Dear Heart showcases the work of New Zealand’s finest modern poets.
99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry
This lively and accessible introduction to New Zealand poetry celebrates its richness and variety by outlining many of the ways poetry can be read – and written. It offers 80 key poems that showcase different aspects of the genre, as well as commentary from 25 poets about what inspired them to write specific works.
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“Every good poem asks a question, and every good poet asks every question.”
– Dorianne Laux