Friday, July 27, 2012

The Pocket Mirror

The Pocket Mirror (1967) was the only book of poems that Janet Frame published in her lifetime and yet it has never been out of print.

Frame won the New Zealand Literary Fund Award for Achievement in 1969 for The Pocket Mirror.

Despite the fact that Janet Frame was better known as a major novelist than as a poet, her genre-bending novels contained within them as many poems as might be found in a career's worth of slim volumes of verse.

The Pocket Mirror has been (for poetry) a bestseller. It has been through several editions (in the UK, New Zealand and the USA). 

Frame's poetry is also unusual in that there are not just those few that stand out as the 'classics' that are quoted and adopted as favourites. Her poems, rich in meaning, insight, observation and description, and subject matter, provide rich pickings: over the years many dozens of the Pocket Mirror poems have been reprinted in anthologies and set to music.

The first page of The Pocket Mirror, annotated in pencil by Charles Brasch. (From the exhibition Nourishing the Roots held at the Otago University Library to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Robert Burns Fellowship.) 

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