Author(s): Siobhan Harvey
"Cloudboy" is a deep-mulling, richly senstive account of a mother's ajustments to the needs of an autistic child. This prize-winning suite of poems grows out of extremes of love and frustration, as the poet introduces a bright, unpredictable, markedly individual boy to the rigid, often airless routines of the school system. Any empathetic parent knows the fears and anxieties of sending a young child into the world of other children, their casual cruelties and dreamy naivete. Each concern is exponentially increased when a child s educational and emotional needs set them apart. Cloudboy writes his own version of Genesis; he invents a new language; he sketches intricate maps; he reads Aristotle and develops an obsession with Dr Who; he interrupts; he sways; his "fists come clenched and swinging." To onlookers, Cloudboy seems troubled, trouble. Cirrus, cumulus, arcus, stratus: cloud forms speak to Harvey of the phases of the mother child bond; the mood-swings and leaps of her child s mind; the mutability of personality; the attraction and evaporation of human kindness; presence and absence; reverie and forgetfulness; the intensity and yet bittersweet transience of early childhood. With a limber, gorgeously metamorphic sense of sculptural and sonic aspects of poetic form, this book is a tender and detailed atlas of a child s imaginative potential. Yet one of the most remarkable gifts it reveals for us readers is Cloudmother s own finely calibrated perceptions."
Siobhan Harvey was the Winner of the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award, 2013.
Siobhan Harvey is the author of the poetry collection Lost Relatives (2011) and a book of literary interviews, Words Chosen Carefully: New Zealand writers in discussion (2010), as well as editor of Our Own Kind: 100 New Zealand poems about animals (2009). Her poems have been published in magazines and anthologies at home and internationally. In recent years she has been runner-up in Dorothy Porter Poetry Prize (Aus), the Kevin Ireland Poetry Competition and Landfall Essay Prize, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize (US). The Poetry Archive (UK) holds a 'Poet's Page' devoted to her work.