My debut collection of poetry, A Man Runs into a Woman, was launched on 10 August, 2012 by Hue & Cry Press. The book is a finalist for best poetry book of the year in the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards. The book can be pre-ordered from the store on the Hue & Cry website or selected independent booksellers.
About the Book
A Man Runs into a Woman looks at the different ways to tell a person’s story: two middle-aged men strike up an unlikely friendship, one couple reconnects after the war, while another couple leave the worst unsaid, and a cross-dressing man talks with his daughter. A series of nine distinctive poems explore the gap between the heartfelt last words of Texas death row inmates, and the grim police reports of their crimes.
In the collection I was interested in looking at the way conflicting stories could exist in the same world. I wanted my poems to think about the way people come together and change the course of each other’s lives.
Responses to the Book
‘Vivid and real and so brave.’ – John Campbell, Chief Judge of New Zealand Post Book Awards 2013
‘Barnett deliberately treads an uneasy line between voyeurism and empathy in these remarkable poems.’ – Landfall Review Online
‘Barnett’s debut collection is well worth heralding … the poet has adeptly made this material her own and inhabits the specifics in order to invoke our deeper consternation and bewilderment about the sources of human cruelty.’ – New Zealand Books
‘This is an honest, zealous and dark little book. Barnett looks closely at people in a series of poetic vignettes … A Man Runs Into A Woman is stunning, stormy, snappy and accessible without hiding anything from the imagination. If you like your poetry full of shock, drama and statements, rather than soft whispery bits, this is the one for you.’ – Otago Daily Times
‘The book is a beautiful thing … it is also an honest and clear-sighted collection. Barnett’s writing is measured without ever seeming overworked … Particularly powerful are the nine poems of the middle section, based around the last words of Texas death row inmates … This collection will reward the careful reader.” - FishHead Magazine
‘As a cartographer of human experience, Sarah Jane Barnett steps boldly into the shoes and lives of others: a cable television engineer, a geographer, a pipeline worker. Her alert mind and canny eye for detail translate and transform what we may have missed in the world into poetic vignettes that are both light-footed and fresh.’ – Poet, Paula Green
‘Barnett is a daring poet – her poetry takes exciting formal risks, but it can kick you in the guts, as well.’ – Novelist, Lawrence Patchett