Jack Ross, ed.: Poetry NZ 38 (March 2009)
Stu Bagby, ed. Just Another Fantastic Anthology: Auckland in Poetry. ISBN 978-0-473-13767-0. Auckland: Antediluvian Press, 2008. RRP $29.00.
Stu Bagby, ed.: JAFA [Just Another Fantastic Anthology] (2008)
The JAFA gag is a good one, I think. “Just Another Funloving Aucklander,” as one of our ex- mayors put it. “I have not set out to panegyrize the city,” claims Stu Bagby in his Editor’s Note. “Zig-zagging the isthmus from east to west, this is a ‘fantastic’ portage in the sense of some of the less commonly used meanings of that word.” That is indeed the strength of Bagby’s book: the proliferating variety of its ‘fantastic’ imaginative worlds, from Sam Hunt’s “flesh-coloured” Castor Bay to Karlo Mila’s “iridescent / trickster / of a city.” Bagby himself acknowledges “that I’ve travelled with the baggage of my gender, cultural background, experiences and age,” but then the same proviso would apply to any other anthologist. A more complete cross-section of approaches and styles might risk dissolving into cacophony.