Everything Talks (2008), Sam Sampson's first collection of poetry, won Best First Poetry Book at the New Zealand Book Awards in 2009. Halcyon Ghosts, his second collection, continues an experimental exploration of language and- bookended as it is between poems for his grandmother and his daughter - extends a heartfelt concern towards human frailty and mortality, ecological fragility and transience.
There are poems here that in form follow the flight of birds; erasure poems about extinct New Zealand species; poems that break apart and bounce off poems by Keats and Dylan Thomas; a twanging cowboy poem; and a poem about the birth of the poet's daughter. Like an investigation of the Romantic impulse scored serially, with delicately composed cartography / scenography / choreography and rich language, this collection takes flight in many directions but remains grounded by the keen intent and ability of its author.
Sam Sampson was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and grew up in Titirangi. He has an MA in Philosophy from the University of Auckland and has taught in the University's ethnomusicology programme. Sampson's poetry has been widely published in journals and chapbooks and his first collection with Auckland University Press, Everything Talks, won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry at the 2009 book awards.