20 Oct 2016

Masterpieces with Hera Lindsay Bird

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 3:09 pm on 20 October 2016
Hera Lindsay Bird

Hera Lindsay Bird Photo: Russell Kleyn

Hera Lindsay Bird’s funny confessional poems have received a lot of attention from The Guardian and Vice – and also some outrage in comments sections.

Hera Lindsay Bird talks with Charlotte Graham about her 2016 ascent to poetry rockstardom, the strange emails she gets, and why she loves the art of Yvonne Todd.

On discovering she’d gone international:

I woke up one morning and someone sent me a tweet saying ‘Did you know you’re on The Guardian?’ I don’t really know how this person – Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett – found out who I was, but that kind of started the ball rolling for a lot more international attention.

On celebrity:

If I ever feel like I’m getting too much attention I can just look at the thousand of pretend-Lordes that exist on the internet and I’m like ‘Oh yeah, right. This is nothing’.

On the reaction to her poem Keats is Dead So F--- Me From Behind:

I don’t think it had anything to do with [the sexual content]. I think it was the fact I slightly lampooned a lot of pet canon poets of the Western world.

I mentioned a lot of white male poets ... and people read it as a scathing attack of them. And I kind of don’t know where that came from because a lot of those people are my favourite writers. I’m not gonna throw John Ashbery out the window. It was kind of tongue in check, but it’s with a real fondness, as well.

On her likes and dislikes:

I won’t lie, there’s a lot of the Western canon that I’m absolutely bored to tears by and there’s a lot of New Zealand poetry that I don’t read and like. I love the surrealists, I love everyone who was in the New York School, I love all the Black Mountain poets… I do read my history. I’m not just focusing on people that are published in the last ten years.

On the book Creamy Psychology by her “favourite New Zealand psychopath” artist Yvonne Todd:

I think she’s phenomenal. When I look at her work it resonates with me more than a lot of other contemporary New Zealand poetry. She’s got this fantastic dark sense o humour and these really camp, grim images of feminity that are also kind of weird and off-centre and a bit sentimental, as well.

Hera Lindsay Bird on RNZ: