88-page epic poem by John Pule to be published again this month
88-page epic love poem by John Pule to be published in a new edition by Canterbury University Press.
An 88-page epic love poem to Polynesia, Niue and the ocean, described as a precocious masterpiece, is to be brought back to life in a new edition being published this month.
Niuean artist John Pule first published 'The Bond of Time: an epic love poem', himself in 1985, and a second edition was put out in 1998 by the University of the South Pacific.
A third edition is being printed this month by the Canterbury University Press.
John Pule says he's excited with the new edition, describing the poem as always being a wild animal, but now it's claws have been sharpened, and it's been given some teeth.
He says the poem still retains it's 1980s youth, but is slicker than the original, which was full of flaws.
John Pule spoke with Leilani Momoisea about what he was going through when he wrote the poem as a 21 year old living in Auckland in the early 1980s.
John Pule: When I started writing the bond of time, I was kind of figuring out what love is, how come I was expressing these feelings, and some of those feelings I was really interested to kind of explore more. So writing the bond of time was like a youth trying to figure out his place in the world. So I started exploring museums mostly, I spent a lot of time in the Auckland Memorial Museum, going through all the rooms and writing. So 'The Bond of Time' was kind of the result of looking at objects, and trying to use them to try and express my love of the world.
Leilani Momoisea : So you're trying to figure out your place in the world, trying to figure out love and where you belong in the world - 88 pages to express that. Did you set out to make it that long, was that completely by accident?
JP: No it was completely by accident, I just kept writing, and writing and writing. I can't remember what the day was like, or what I was thinking or what I was doing and I just put a full-stop to it, and the very last line that I put a full-stop on, was called 'the solitude gone, gone forever.' And the beginning was totally different, you know the first line of the bond of time was 'dolphins, nectarines, and turtles, and all at once they jump out from your mouth.
LM: And when you look back on what you wrote as a 21 year old and you think about perhaps 21 year olds of today reading that, do you think they will be able to see themselves in this poem?
JP: Some will and some won't. If young people want to make an effort to have an idea of what a 21 year old was writing in the early 80s, then they will walk away with something from it, I'm sure. It's a love poem to Polynesia, it's a love poem to Niue, it's a love poem to the village I was born in, to the ocean, so if people are interested in Pasifika poetry, written in English, this book will be for them.
The Bond of Time: an epic love poem is due to be released on the 27th of March.
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