Poetry Shelf review: Little Doomsdays by Nic Lowe and Phil Dadson


Paula Green has reviewed Nic Lowe and Phil Dadson's Little Doomsdays for Poetry Shelf:

'Little Doomsdays is a collaboration between Ngāi Tahu writer Nic Low and musician and painter Phil Dadson. These are the opening words:

It’s said — in the quiet between buses, down the back of the pub, in the hushed elevator rising to the penthouse — that in the late twentieth century an unstable grouping of scholars, writers and fanatics from several Ngāi Tahu hapū in Murihiku created what has come to be known as the Ark of Arks.

It’s said that this project aimed to catalogue all known arks from the last five millennia. It was a failed attempt to capture previous civilisations’ failed attempts to preserve whatever was valuable to them: waka huia, time capsules, caches, burial ships, seed banks.

This becomes threshold into what feels like a conference of arks, inside this ark that ark, inside that ark another, and as Nic suggests, the very book we hold becomes ark. I am holding a storehouse, an instruction manual, a travel guide. We are invited to examine, admire, lay our hands, not to believe everything people say. We might “dig down into the sediment of memory that is a city”.

We are in the vessel of preservation and it is a neighbourhood of truth, fragmentation, missing bits, disappearance, change. Across time and place. In this vessel, we will find seeds, things, knowledge, aroha, museums, hapu time capsules, seeds of language, cave paintings. We will hear “time is running out”. We will fall upon the possibility of germination.

Te ao Māori is the pulse, the vein, the energy force, the lifeline.'


Read the full review here.