‘It’s love isn’t it?‘ was released in 2008 a year after the death of his wife and poet Meg Campbell, and now, a year later, Alistair Te Ariki Campbell has passed away.
The reading of this anthology in 2008 was a bittersweet pleasure in that Alistair had assembled the poems himself, placing the similarly themed poems of Meg’s on every facing page beside one of his.
The order of these poems would change so that where previously one of Alistair’s led now it was Meg’s. At some point in the list of contents at the front of the book the author is no longer stated and it is up to the reader to decide which poem belongs to which author, which narrative to which person. That sometimes this seems impossible is tribute to the strong, undeniable thread that ran between them.
John O’Connor wrote that, ‘Campbell’s oeuvre is vital, and varied in subject, voice and structure…’ and even the assembly of an anthology by Campbell becomes personal, structurally creative and heartbreakingly revealing.
‘The dark lord of Savaiki : collected poems,’ is a good place to start for insight into all the periods of this great writer’s work. It contains poems about love, Kapiti, Gallipoli, his Polynesian ancestors, madness and Meg…