The Land Ballot
Published by Bloodaxe Books
A land ballot was the means by which Fleur Adcock’s grandparents, immigrants from Manchester during World War I, were able to bid for a piece of native bush on the slopes of Mount Pirongia in the North Island of New Zealand. Their task was to turn this unpromising acreage into a dairy farm. When things didn’t work out as they had hoped much of the responsibility for running the farm and engineering their eventual escape fell on their teenage son, Adcock’s father. This sequence of poems follows the course of their efforts and builds up a portrait of a small, isolated community.
'Adcock has a deceptively laid-back tone, through which the sharper edge of her talent is encountered like a razor blade in a peach' – Carol Ann Duffy, Guardian.
'Adcock's reputation has been founded on her spare, conversational poems, in which the style is deceptively simple, apparently translucent…those who see in such poems only flatness are missing the power of a voice which teases both reader and subject' – Jo Shapcott, TLS.
'Her imagination thrives on what threatens her peace of mind, and only when she is unguarded can these threats have their full creative effect… Throughout her writing life, she has made a fine art from holding on to principles of orderliness and good clear sense; but she has made an even finer one from loosening her grip on them' – Andrew Motion, TLS.