sign language looks at life in the south

Evening Standard 27 Nov 1998

PALMERSTON North-based poet Paula Harris' second collection of poetry, sign language, will be released on Monday.

sign language is based on her living experiences in North Carolina, United States, in April last year.

Harris said: "It looks at my experience as a white woman with a shaved head, a pierced navel, the wrong clothes, an accent, and no religious beliefs, living with an Afro-American, in a conservative, Christian, racially-segregated small town in the south.

"The works in sign language look at the environment I was living in, the people's reaction to my presence and appearance, as well as the breakdown of the relationship I was in."

The book is divided into two sections - the first looking at the environment and people surrounding her, and the second looking at her relationship with her lover.
Harris this year attended Victoria University's poetry workshop, under tutor Gregory O'Brien.

She has had work published in Spin, JAAM and the New Zealand Poetry Society's anthology, climbing the flame tree, and included in the US syndicated radio show The Romantic Hours.

She is a previous winner of the Whitireia Poetry Award, and has had work accepted for The Listener.

This is Street Women Press' third publication, and follows on from Harris' first solo poetry book, woman, phenomenally.

sign language continues Street Women Press' style of "boutique" publishing, designing the book as though it were itself a work of art - a limited edition print, and limited to 100 individually numbered copies, retailing at $14.95.