Saturday, December 1, 2007

Brunton, Alan

[Photograph: nzepc]

Alan Brunton (1946-2002)


Contemporary New Zealand Poets in Performance (2007):

The Man on Crazies Hill
from Waves

Aotearoa NZ Poetry Sound Archive (2004):


1. Transformed Urbs / The days of

New Zealand Poets Read Their Work (1974):

LP 1, side 1

The Man on Crazies Hill

Waiata Archive (1974):

CD 10

Another Year of Unwanted Days
I am afloat, my eyes …
Getting Back the Bitter & the Sweet
Rimbaud’s Passport
Liberty Bus
The Man on Crazies Hill

Bio / Bibliography:

Alan Brunton was born in Christchurch in 1946, and educated at Hamilton Boys’ High School, the University of Auckland (where he took a BA) and Victoria University, Wellington, from which he graduated MA in English in 1968. He had begun to submit poetry to campus publications while still a student, and in 1969 founded Freed - the journal of the Auckland University Literary Society - five issues of which appeared between 1969 and 1971. (Brunton co-edited the first two.)

Freed combined poetry, editorials, and ‘manifestos’ with graphics, fonts and layout that reflected contemporary fashions in art and advertising. Brunton’s manifestos advocated the negation of dominant New Zealand poetic and formal traditions (particularly the ‘literary nationalism’ associated with Allen Curnow) while acknowledging both the influence of poets such as Creeley, Olson and Zukofsky, and the relevance of the youth culture and ‘new social movements’ of the late 1960s.

Freed was in many ways a coterie publication, reflecting the attitudes and aspirations of a group of self-consciously ‘young’ Central Auckland poets: ‘[t]he space was common, geographically contained; sociologically coherent. You could cover the whole scene walking.’ Among its targets were a particular set of poetic ‘elders’, several of whom taught in the University of Auckland English Department.

In the early 1970s, Brunton left New Zealand, visiting Sydney, India, and then Europe, where his first collection, the pamphlet Messengers in Blackface, was published in 1973. Returning to New Zealand the following year, he and partner Sally Rodwell established the avant-garde theatre troupe ‘Red Mole’, for which Brunton would eventually write over forty playscripts. (In the late 1970s, Brunton also co-edited the literary magazine Spleen.) Red Mole performed extensively in New Zealand between 1974 and 1978, and from 1979-87 were based variously in New York City, London, Amsterdam and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Returning to New Zealand in 1988, Brunton based himself in Wellington, where he founded Bumper Books, and worked as an editor, drama teacher and arts community worker, while regularly contributing poetry and criticism to literary magazines. In 1998, he was writer-in-residence at the University of Canterbury. Brunton died in June 2002, while touring in Amsterdam with Red Mole.


Messengers in Blackface, London: Amphedesma Press, 1973
Black White Anthology, Christchurch: Hawk Press, 1976
Oh, Ravachol, New York: Red Mole, 1978
And She Said, New York: Red Mole, 1984
New Order, New York: Red Mole, 1986
Day for a Daughter (with Sally Rodwell), Wellington: Untold Books, 1989
Slow Passes, 1978-88, Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1991
Ephphatha, (with Richard Killeen), Auckland: Workshop Press, 1994
Romaunt of Glossa: a saga, Wellington: Bumper Books, 1996
Years Ago Today: language & performance, 1969, Wellington: Bumper Books, 1997
Moonshine, Wellington: Bumper Books, 1998
Ecstasy, Wellington: Bumper Books, 2001
Fq, Wellington: Bumper Books, 2002


Freed, nos. 1-2
Spleen, nos. 1-8 (with Martin Edmond, Russell Haley and Ian Wedde)
Writing Island Bay, Wellington: Bumper Books, 1997
Big Smoke: New Zealand poems 1960-1975 (with Murray Edmond and Michele Leggott) Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2000
The Brian Bell Reader, Wellington: Bumper Books, 2001

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