Monday, 4 July 2016

Happy birthday, Sam Hunt


Reader Ruth reminded me that poet Sam Hunt is 70 today (thanks Ruth) – a performance poet whose poems, he says, are "songs for the tone-deaf" – so before the day is over let’s celebrate the great man who introduced many of us to poetry in a pub somewhere, and who most of us involuntarily imitate when we recite, with a recent (from his latest book of poems, Salt River Songs) and a non-recent look at his work:



And try performing one for yourself, recited (of course) in the manner of Sam’:

Tommorrow, or today (2)

We prepare for departure,
no see-you-later;
we make our goodbyes.
It’s a quiet time, quieter
by hour, by day,
by day, by hour:
not a lot left to say.

I was moving the cattle earlier,

told them
We’re in this together,
we’re headed for the Works,
no one pumping the brakes:
no one, I told them,
is giving a damn –
the stock-truck’s on its way.

And later found myself talking
to nodding tops of totara:
told them I’d no idea
how all of this started, or how
(when it does) it stops.
The trees agreed.
And it just got quieter.

[Poem from Sam Hunt’s website]



  1. Yes, his sense of timing and monotone within the diction, letting the words stand for themselves.
    No wonder we all try to copy him.

  2. Sam is 70 -- how old we are getting! I love the poem you Bowie you can never compare Sam Hunt to anyone else. Truly a national treasure.

  3. "Beware the Man "
    People outside of Wellington may never have heard this musical album by Mammal, which has Sam reciting his poetry, with some doubling as lyrics. From 1972, and I'd not describe it as psychedelic folk as YouTube does. Still worth a listen.


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