Relaxed and intimate, engaging and wise, ""Incognito"" is Jessica Le Bas's first book. Her poems have been carefully collected but are wonderfully various. Themes, characters and voices come and go as the poet moves in and out of identities and roles - sometimes known, sometimes incognito - discovering new world views, new horizons, whole new windows of observations. ""Incognito"" is crammed with people recognised and specific: children, family, friends, the arrival of a new baby. But Jessica Le Bas is also openly lyrical about the New Zealand landscape and its human clutter and writes hills and wind, sheds and roads, headlands and valleys. ""Incognito"" is an intensely New Zealand book, not least in its journey outward in the final sections - to Malindi, Shenandoah, Zagreb - and its affectionate return home.
JESSICA LE BAS grew up in Auckland and has been writing poetry since she was six. Her work has appeared in the Listener, Landfall, Sport, Poetry New Zealand and other literary journals.
1 YOU'RE KIDDING: another country; the PM comes to school; Dead Horse Pinch; the footpath; HALP; a 'not fair' poem about lice; 2 THERE'S A LOVE: enlightenment; my mother's birthday; There's a love; old haunts; for that extra distance; what I didn't say to the doctor; trig point; 3 CURRENCY: a bloody good story; love & lunch; man at Oturehua; perhaps the caravan park; a long way from Moscow; currency; two women walking; weight; a mathematician talks to me of imaginary numbers; the brown hen; Anticipation; winter night, Moutere; and the Hawkdun Range behind; 4 INCOGNITO: a cold spell; lessons; inventories; incognito, my love; incarnate on the coastline of night; in which we don't go to the movies; two angels; in the umbrella house; and I have something to expiate; 5 JOURNEY: house at Malindi; life vest under your seat; through Shenandoah; journey south; Sheep near Pigeon Rock; near Ian's place; towards Devil's Peak; last leaf; 6 ENDS: inter-loan; death on the rainbow road; holy war declared; Osama bin Laden sleeps; another Zagreb; Refugee; ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS