Eleanor Livingstone introduces Jenny Bornholdt
I first came across Jenny Bornholdt a couple of years ago when I read her collection Summer and was moved by poems about the death of her father. At the time I was researching New Zealand poets with a view to inviting one or two of them to take part in StAnza 2009 as part of our Homecoming celebrations, to recognise connections stretching back generations which link our two countries.
Jenny Bornholdt will be in St Andrews next month for the festival, and I'm sure she'll delight our audiences.
There is an apparent lack of complication in Bornholdt's poetry, evident in the way she takes hold of language as if it were any practical tool. She prefers to see things as they are. In her long poem 'Confessional', looking at the dark smudges of cancer in her father's X-rays, she wonders if they resemble anything; 'but no, they remained/ what they were – dark patches marring a lit screen'.
At the same time she sees the world afresh, perhaps from the viewpoint of the child who in another of her poems 'tries to pick the pattern up off the carpet'. Bornholdt has an amazing eye for the small details and nuances which lift events and moments in her poems out of the everyday, while at the same time anchoring them there. Her poems have been said to 'ring like the reassuring chime of crystal glass or with the resonance of a perfectly fired bell'.
For the full piece link here to the Scottish Poetry Library.