On We Go review on Volume NZ


On We Go is a beautiful book, in design and content. This collaboration between artist Catherine Bagnall and poet Jane Sayle is a whimsical dreamscape, contemplative with little pinpricks of curiosity and quiet insistence. Here on the page are the watercolours and the words moving against and with each other. Here on the page is our place and relationship with nature. Our eyes are drawn to the creatures and landscapes of the paintings; we both wonder at these magical places and the human-animal hybrids. Are they us? Are they our inner selves wandering in the garden, in the bush? Are they our nightscapes of dreams or unconscious rememberings? Our mind lingers on the words. A passing phrase here, a word there, evocatively carving its way in. This world so familiar, yet slightly strange  — off-kilter, mythic. And within and beyond the work are the themes, the conversation about ecology and the perils facing the natural world — a whisper of fragments that build upon each other and suggest quietly, yet forcefully, an attentiveness that is due to this place we live in. I’ve owned my copy of this perfectly designed small book of poems and art for a few years and it is a pleasure to read and contemplate each time I glance into it. I was drawn to it initially by the watercolours and then by the words, and back around to the art. A circular relationship in my looking and reading which reflects this excellent collaboration. You sense the flow of ideas and exchange between the two contributors; the ease that makes the work sing on the page. A lilting exploration of our place, and sometimes conversely, our otherness, in the natural world.

Good news times two: One, a new publication from this duo is due in October — pre-order In the Temple; and Two, On We Go can be ordered and in your hand within a week. Treasures to keep beside you in a world unsettled.

Read Stella's review here.