10 Aug 2018

Sam Hunt: Coming To It

From Nine To Noon, 10:06 am on 10 August 2018

Sam Hunt is New Zealand's best known poet. He's been writing and performing for nearly 50 years and has just published a new selection of his work.

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Coming To It is a selection of previous works interspersed with new poems written this year.

Hunt has always lived near the sea - right from his boyhood at Auckland's Castor Bay and for the last 16 years, he's lived overlooking the Arapaoa River of Kaipara Harbour, the remote location which he describes in one of his poems as "five / gunshots from humanity".

The solitude suits him, he tells Nine to Noon's Kathryn Ryan.

“I’m enjoying staying very still and knocking around the Kaipara, it suits me fine.”

Famous for performing his own work, Hunt stopped touring recently.

“I’m just at home now, I don’t go anywhere.

“I retired from touring a couple of years ago, I’d had enough of airports and hotels and strangers thinking they knew you.

“The only part I miss is the actual shows.”

And the “Carthusian life” means the poems don’t arrive unnoticed, he says.

“I think my main job is just to listen out for the poems, you could miss them if you have people round all the time.”

He’s alone, rather than lonely, he says.

“You could say - glibly, I suppose - when you’re happy and on your own it’s aloneness, and when you’re not so happy about it it’s straight out bloody lonely.

“But there are times when you have to endure that loneliness so you can hear the voices, so you can hear your poems coming along.”

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