Author(s): KONA MACPHEE
Kona Macphee's What Long Miles is a characteristically eclectic collection from an ever-inventive writer, the winner of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for her previous collection, Perfect Blue. The poems range widely - nature and culture, body and psyche, the urban and the rural, the everyday and the revelatory - driven by a poetic sensibility both captivated by nuance and ever in search of essence. Woven throughout the collection's diversity of styles and subjects is the theme of human loneliness, a hurt that the poems touch on again and again, and for which the poet finds no easy remedy. Whether it's a pitch-perfect formal poem, a darkly comic narrative or an achingly melancholic lyric, Kona Macphee's work displays a trademark technical panache and a musician's deftness with the aural possibilities of language. The poems in What Long Miles exemplify her striking ability to blend hard-won emotional insight with a clear outward gaze and a deep, compassionate engagement with the world.
'Her compassion, seriousness and technical accomplishment were all evident over a wide range of subjects and forms. She can also describe moments of vulnerability directly and with courage. It was a book that we found ourselves returning to. What impressed us most of all was the way that Macphee's work combined clarity and depth with a surprising and sometimes unsettling view of the world' - Kate Kellaway, Bernard O'Donoghue & Stephen Romer, Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize citation. 'Kona Macphee's poetry has a genuine lyricism and mystery, together with a bold experimental diction' - John Greening, Poetry Review. 'Kona Macphee's finest work presents a perspective whose detachment is rooted in genuine care for what it sees, as though the refusal to centre the poems in personal subjectivity will provide the most intimate connection to the world. Add to this meticulous attention a lyricism based on compressed syntax and skilful consonance - an impressive range' - Carrie Etter, Poetry Review. 'Poems of elegant gravitas, terse yet lyrical' - Independent on Sunday.
Kona Macphee was born in London and grew up in Australia, where she worked as a waitress, shop assistant and apprentice motorbike mechanic. She studied musical composition at the Sydney Conservatorium, violin at the University of Sydney, and computer science and robotics at Monash University, later taking an M.Sc. at Cambridge as a Commonwealth Scholar. She received an Eric Gregory Award for her poetry in 1998, and has published three collections with Bloodaxe: Tails (2004); Perfect Blue (2010), winner of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize; and What Long Miles (2013). She is a freelance writer and software developer, and lives in Crieff, Perthshire.