During his time in London in the late 1950s and early 1960s New Zealand poet Owen Leeming was a member of ‘The Group’ of young poets which included George Macbeth, Edward Lucie-Smith, Philip Hobsbaum, Peter Redgrove, Alan Brownjohn, Peter Porter, and Martin Bell. His highly-praised first collection Venus is Setting, with its tour-de-force centrepiece 'The Priests of Serrabonne', was published in New Zealand 1972. It would take the best part of five decades until his next collection appeared.
Latitudes: New & Selected Poems contains selections from Venus is Setting and 2019's Through Your Eyes, which comprised poems from the 1960s and 70s along with others written in more recent years. It also includes hitherto uncollected earlier poems and new work offered for the first time. Leeming's early poems remain fresh and energetic, marked by their rare reconciliation of the playful and the serious. The recent poems sparkle with intensified brio and rambunctiousness, by which readers are offered the world freshly rendered in words with an utterly uncommon intelligence and sensuousness.
Charting a course from youthful disillusionment to celebratory old-age, Owen Leeming's Latitudes: New & Selected Poems will surprise, delight and challenge readers of poetry with its open-eyed love of life and language.
Owen Leeming was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1930. He has spent much of his adult life in the UK and France working for the BBC, UNESCO and as a translator with the OECD.