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Best International First Collection (The Laurel Prize 2022)

________

A tenderly devastating look at our cows and ourselves by a remarkable new poet.

I am trying to go vegetarian but finding myself weak,

week to week browsing the meat aisle at a linger

close enough to chill my arms to gooseflesh. I only buy

stuff so processed it hardly makes sense to call it meat.

Saveloy, nugget, continental frankfurter;

whatever gets extruded pink beyond possible memory

of the preceding body.
— ‘The Flexitarian’

In this dazzling first collection, acclaimed Wellington poet and Canterbury farm-girl Rebecca Hawkes takes a generous bite from the excesses of earthly flesh – first ‘Meat’, then ‘Lovers’.

‘Meat’ is a coming of age in which pony clubs, orphaned lambs and dairy-shed delirium are infused with playful menace and queer longings. Between bottle-fed care and killing-shed floors, the farm is a heady setting for love and death.

In ‘Lovers’, the poet casts a wry eye over romance, from youthful sapphic infatuation to seething beastliness. Sentimental intensity is anchored by an introspective comic streak, in which ‘the stars are watching us / and boy howdy are they judgemental’.

This collection of queasy hungers offers a feast of explosive mince & cheese pies, accusatory crackling, lab-grown meat and beetroot tempeh burger patties, all washed down with bloody milk or apple-mush moonshine. It teems with sensuous life, from domesticated beasts to the undulating mysteries of eels, as Hawkes explores uneasy relationships with our animals and with each other.

Tender and brutal, seductive and repulsive, Meat Lovers introduces a compelling new mode of hardcore pastoral.

The old station-holders used to castrate lambs

to wethers with their teeth – isn’t that your area

of interest? Hard men rousing on the muster

posing the evergreen question: to spit or swallow?

But think how tender those shepherds must have been

with their incisive surgery – the cutting kiss –

and all that bleating.
— ‘Mad Butcher’s Love Song’

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Meat Lovers by Rebecca Hawkes

SKU: 9781869409630
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Best International First Collection (The Laurel Prize 2022)

________

A tenderly devastating look at our cows and ourselves by a remarkable new poet.

I am trying to go vegetarian but finding myself weak,

week to week browsing the meat aisle at a linger

close enough to chill my arms to gooseflesh. I only buy

stuff so processed it hardly makes sense to call it meat.

Saveloy, nugget, continental frankfurter;

whatever gets extruded pink beyond possible memory

of the preceding body.
— ‘The Flexitarian’

In this dazzling first collection, acclaimed Wellington poet and Canterbury farm-girl Rebecca Hawkes takes a generous bite from the excesses of earthly flesh – first ‘Meat’, then ‘Lovers’.

‘Meat’ is a coming of age in which pony clubs, orphaned lambs and dairy-shed delirium are infused with playful menace and queer longings. Between bottle-fed care and killing-shed floors, the farm is a heady setting for love and death.

In ‘Lovers’, the poet casts a wry eye over romance, from youthful sapphic infatuation to seething beastliness. Sentimental intensity is anchored by an introspective comic streak, in which ‘the stars are watching us / and boy howdy are they judgemental’.

This collection of queasy hungers offers a feast of explosive mince & cheese pies, accusatory crackling, lab-grown meat and beetroot tempeh burger patties, all washed down with bloody milk or apple-mush moonshine. It teems with sensuous life, from domesticated beasts to the undulating mysteries of eels, as Hawkes explores uneasy relationships with our animals and with each other.

Tender and brutal, seductive and repulsive, Meat Lovers introduces a compelling new mode of hardcore pastoral.

The old station-holders used to castrate lambs

to wethers with their teeth – isn’t that your area

of interest? Hard men rousing on the muster

posing the evergreen question: to spit or swallow?

But think how tender those shepherds must have been

with their incisive surgery – the cutting kiss –

and all that bleating.
— ‘Mad Butcher’s Love Song’

Reviews from real-life readers (caution: spoilers may lie this way!)

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