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Cold Hub Press ~ Ruth Hanover

Notes from a refugee

Look at me . . .

Am I not black enough

in pain enough

in loss enough

of brother, country

am I not poor enough

un-housed enough

for you —

to look at me?

© Ruth Hanover 2019

Publication date: 25 March, 2019


Ruth Hanover

ISBN: 978-0-473-47134-7

Softcover chapbook, 48 pp, 210 x 148mm

This chapbook of seventeen profoundly empathetic poems by Christchurch poet Ruth Hanover is a timely meditation on displacement, and survival dedicated to seekers of asylum and those who reach towards them.

A mother and child inhabit the psychological space between the mainland and Nauru. A young man enters his own culture through the close reading of another. The Levant is apparent in Paris, generations late. A re-formed underground functions where passports can not, and the trains leave, from Austerlitz.

These poems follow refugees, seekers of asylum, and the response to them—dismissive, violent, or expressed in the smallest act of magnanimity. The power to choose and the practice of choice runs throughout. It remains to be seen if we might yet follow Aristotle and ‘cultivate humanity’ or get to the end, witness to a state of disgrace.

Ruth Hanover’s writing — shaped by a degree in English; ESOL teaching, largely of refugees in Cairo, Stockholm and New Zealand; travel, and years in therapy — has been published in London Grip, a fine line, takahē and Poetry New Zealand. It has been anthologised in Manifesto Aotearoa: 101 Political Poems, Otago University Press, and the New Zealand Poetry Society anthology. It gained the Takahē Poetry Prize 2017 (for ‘The Tent’, a poem included in this volume) and was longlisted in the Peter Porter Prize 2019.