This episode I caught up with poet, essayist and teacher Helen Heath. Helen recently published an astounding collection of poetry which poses the question Are Friends Electric? We got together to talk about Fleur Adcock’s poem ‘Gas’, first published in her 1971 collection High Tide in the Garden and it’s also available in Fleur Adcock Poems 1960-2000, and Helen’s exciting new book.
Helen Heath’s first book, Graft, was published in 2012 and won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book for Poetry Award in 2013. It was also the first book of fiction or poetry to be shortlisted for the Royal Society of NZ Science Book Prize. She holds a PhD in creative writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington.
Are Friends Electric? offers a vivid and moving vision of a past, present and future mediated by technology. The first part of Helen Heath’s bold new collection is comprised largely of found poems which emerge from conversations about sex bots, people who feel an intimate love for bridges, fences and buildings, a meditation on Theo Jansen’s beautifully strange animal sculptures, and the lives of birds in cities.
A series of speculative poems further explores questions of how we incorporate technology into our lives and bodies. In these poems on grief, Heath asks how technology can keep us close with those we have lost. How might our experiences of grieving and remembering be altered?
Helen and Pip have talked previously on Better off Read about Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit
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Episode 58: Pip Adam talks to Helen Heath about ‘Gas’ by Fleur Adcock and ARE FRIENDS ELECTRIC? by Helen Heath