Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hunt, Sam

[Photograph: Jan Kemp (1979)]

Sam Hunt (b. 1946)


Contemporary New Zealand Poets in Performance (2007):

My Father Scything
Rainbows and a Promise of Snow
Hey, Minstrel
Plateau Songs
Bottle to Battle to Death

Aotearoa NZ Poetry Sound Archive (2004):


1. War History
2. Rainbows and a Promise of Snow [1-2]
3. A new plateau song
4. Requiem
5. What a pity
6. Hey, Minstrel
7. Old flames
8. Four Plateau songs [1-4]
9. Sara
10. Bottle to Battle to Death
11. Fucking poem
12. Brother Lynch
13. Wavesong
14. Naming the Gods
15. Wedding Party and After

New Zealand Poets Read Their Work (1974):

LP 1, side 2

A Purple Balloon
Time to Ride
Notes from a Journey

LP 3, side 2

School Policy on Stickmen
Four Bow-wow Poems
Four Cobweb Poems
A Mangaweka Road Song

Waiata Archive (1974):

CD 5

Time to Ride, or the last Time I Saw Larry Happy
Main-Trunk Country Road-Song
Dad, Dad, Dad
My Father Scything
A Mangaweka Road Song
Walking the Morning City

CD 6

A Purple Balloon
Time to Ride
After Sickness
Early Opener
Singing For You Now
Daddy Dad on Fire
Notes from a Journey
School Policy on Stickmen
Bracken Country
Gauguin through Fever
Buried Alive
Every Time It Rains Like This
Main Trunk country Road-song
Four Bow-wow Poems
Four Cobweb Poems
We Could Just Disappear
8 pm World of Science
Uncle Rory
Photograph of …

Bio / Bibliography:

Sam Hunt was born at Castor Bay, on Auckland’s North Shore, in 1946. He has described poetry has being ‘part of the blood beat’ of his family while he was growing up - his mother would read poems to her children, and Hunt and his siblings claimed descent through her from Matthew Arnold’s sister. Hunt credits these organic connections with his own early entry into writing; he began writing poems at 16, influenced, he says, by the musical and speech rhythms of early ‘60s American rock and roll.

In 1963, Hunt left St. Peter’s College, Auckland, with University Entrance and travelled to Wellington, where he befriended the poet Alistair Campbell (whose poetry he had long admired). For the next four years, he oscillated between the two cities, working at a variety of jobs and attending both Victoria University and the University of Auckland. He eventually graduated with a teaching diploma, and taught briefly at a number of schools. (It was during a stint at Mana College that he first met the poet Gary McCormick, then a student.) At the beginning of the 1970s, however, he decided to become a ‘full-time’ poet, and subsequently embarked on a career reading (for pay) in front of pub, school, and prison audiences.

Hunt was at pains to distance himself from his more ‘academic’ contemporaries during the 1970s. He referred to his works as ‘road songs’ rather than poems, and emphasized the performative and role-playing aspects of the poet’s vocation. Rather than claiming, like many of the University poets, to be influenced by the then-fashionable ‘Black Mountain’ school of American poetry, Hunt pointed instead to the influence of popular music: ‘basically I’m a rock-and-roller, so some of the very big influences on me have been the songs of people like Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Rod Stewart’. The late 1960s and 1970s were the most fruitful years for Hunt, with six volumes of his poetry published between 1969 to 1977.

The flow of writing ebbed somewhat during the decades that followed. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Hunt began to make frequent television appearances, both in commercials, and as a presenter of documentary and lifestyle programming. In the mid 1990s, he and Gary McCormick revived the kind of poetry road trips they had embarked on together in the 1970s; these resulted in the coffee-table book Roaring Forties. A volume of new poems - Down the Backbone - appeared in 1995.

Select Bibliography:

Bracken Country (Wellington: Glenbervie Press, 1971)
From Bottle Creek (Wellington: Alister Taylor, 1972)
South Into Winter : Poems and Roadsongs (Wellington: Alister Taylor, 1973)
Time to Ride (Waiura: Alister Taylor, 1975)
Drunkards Garden (Wellington: Hampson Hunt, 1977)
Collected Poems 1963-1980 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1980)
Running Scared (Christchurch: Whitcoulls, 1982)
Approaches to Paremata (Auckland: Penguin, 1985)
Making Tracks : a Selected 50 Poems (Christchurch: Hazard Press, 1991)
Down the Backbone (Auckland: Hodder Moa Beckett, 1995)
Roaring Forties (with Gary McCormick; photographer John McDermott) (Auckland: Hodder Moa Beckett, 1995)

1 comment:

Peter Money said...

I first learned about Sam Hunt twenty-one years ago, from a grocery store clerk. Being a young poet "on the road" myself, wanting to find the legend and excitations of other poets in their land, I had traveled ten thousand miles to start my literary map. Initially enthralled by Sam Hunt's poems and legend, by the time I reached India I determined the Penguin paperback's work to be "too easy" and "ditched" my copy in a trade shop in Goa. --To my mind Hunt's poetry was a little like the American Richard Brautigan's (whom I defended among MFA critics). But almost as soon as I ditched Sam Hunt's poems I regretted it. One must not be too hasty in love. It is not mode or manner ultimately. . . but manifestation--which is both more and less ephemeral than the previous two as I consider them. It is, I think, what remains in the moment and long after, the mattering impression. Sam Hunt represents for me the spirit and drive (:)) of poetry as poets are mandated to make. . . and to make anew. Several years after my regret, I replaced my too-easily forgotten copy of Sam Hunt's poems. And I won't make the same mistake again! Rock on.

--Peter Money, Vermont, U.S.A. &