ARTicle Magazine

This reading life: Ian Wedde

02 July 2017

By his books we will know the writer as he releases a selection of his poetry.

Ian Wedde

Selected Poems by Ian Wedde (Auckland University Press).

Banksia Men

The first book to capture my imagination was ... A toss up between May Gibbs’ Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (I was scared of the Banksia Men) and Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Books (I was Mowgli!).

The Water Babies

The books and/or other writing (eg comics, magazines) that saw me through childhood were ... Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies, Johann D Wyss’s The Swiss Family Robinson, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Biggles, anything Tarzan and a steamy bodice-ripper my parents took off me.


The character in a book I most wanted to be as a child was ... Mowgli, always.

Hone Tuwhare

The book I studied at school that has stayed with me most is ... Hone Tuwhare’s No Ordinary Sun (the last one I remember from my final school year).

The Green Road

The author I am most likely to binge-read is ... Anne Enright.


The book I am most likely to press on a friend is ... Barry Hill’s Peacemongers.

The book I most wish someone would write is ... John Oliver does the butler’s point of view in Mar-a-Lago.

La Storia

 The book I keep meaning to get around to reading but somehow never do is ... Elsa Morante’s 1974 novel La Storia.

Collected Earlier Poems

The books I have reread the most are ... William Carlos Williams’s The Collected Earlier Poems and The Collected Later Poems.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

If I were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book with me, it would be ... Best Known Works of Gustave Flaubert, One Volume Edition (Blue Ribbon Books, 1904).

Bookmark, scrap of paper or turning down the corner of the page? Postcard.

The first 50 pages or bust? Or always to the bitter end? First 10 these days.

The book I am always on the lookout for in secondhand shops is ... Just now: Regional History of King Country/Rangitikei. Please get in touch.

My favourite cinematic adaptation of a book is ... In My Fathers Den.

My Name is Red

The character in a book I'd most like to meet is ... The colour red in Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red.

A line of writing I can recite from memory is ... "So much depends" (William Carlos Williams,  from his poem The Red Wheelbarrow).

Arthur Rimbaud

My favourite 19th-century book is ... Arthur Rimbaud's Oeuvres complètes, edited by Antoine Adam (Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1972) – I can get away with the publication date, surely.

The Americans

My favourite 20th-century book is ... Impossible question. Robert Frank's The Americans, with an introduction by Jack Kerouac (Grove Press, 1959). I know, photographs …

WG Sebald

 My favourite contemporary writers are ... Also impossible. WG Sebald (everything), Anne Carson (everything), Anne Enright (again), David Shields (the lot), I could go on and on …

His Bloody Project

The book/s currently by the side of my bed is/are ... Selected Letters of Gustave Flaubert (Francis Steegmuller translation), Best Known Works of Flaubert (see above), His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet, Fits and Starts by Andrew Johnston, Red Edits by Geoff Cochrane, Some Things to Place in a Coffin by Bill Manhire, Butades by TP Sweeney. Time for a sort-out …

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