‘A Vase and a Vast Sea’ is the swansong collection of the Whitireia Creative Writing Programme and its journal, 4th Floor, which closed after 27 years last year.
Featuring well-known New Zealand authors, such as Renee and Barbara Else and emerging writers, this collection of contemporary poetry and short prose, is delicately balanced between the smaller, more intimate inner world and the wilder and vaster outer one – as aptly referred to by the ‘vase’ and the ‘vase sea’ in the title.
Firmly rooted in Aotearoa, there are small domestic moments, relationships flourishing and breaking apart, children in the frame, the outside world bustling with life. And while there is melancholy, there are also typically kiwi doses of humour and flashes of joy.
Editor Jenny Nimon has done a stellar job of bringing a sense of flow and order to the collection. Selecting from such an abundance of material published in the 4th Floor Journal over the years can’t have been an easy task.
‘A Vase and a Vast Sea’ is a time capsule of a time and place in New Zealand literature and a journal and a writing programme that meant so much to so many. Many writers in New Zealand will have been published by 4th Floor Journal, myself included, and it is lovely to have a collection that memorialises and celebrates the programme and the journal.
A small and lovely book to be treasured.
Reviewer: Heidi North
Escalator Press, RRP $28.00