DEATHWALKER'S GUIDE TO LIFE SEASON 2
EPISODE 5
Death & Grief meets Poetry & Songwriting
Pictured above: Nick Feint playing guitar in Golden Bay, Tasman. Image courtesy the artist, from his Facebook page..
July 3, 2022
EPISODE 5
Death & Grief meets Poetry & Songwriting
Death in Print: Actions & Travels: How Poetry Works by Anna Jackson, Meet: Singer/songwriter Nick Feint Death on Screen: 'Good Bones' by Maggie Smith
Listen to Episode 5 on the following podcast platforms
Or, if you've already listened to the show, scroll down for more info and links . . .
DEATH IN PRINT
Actions & Travels: How Poetry Works by Anna Jackson
Photo by Jacob
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Richard_Carlson,_(1961_%E2%80%93_2006).jpg#/media/File:Richard_Carlson,_(1961_–_2006).jpg
Anna Jackson is a New Zealand poet who grew up in Auckland and now lives in Island Bay, Wellington. She has a DPhil from Oxford and is an associate professor in English literature at Victoria University of Wellington.

Actions & Travels: How Poetry Works is her latest book and is a brilliant introduction to how poetry works through one hundred poems. Jackson examines poems by poets who are long dead as well as by those who are busting into the contemporary poetry scene, both here in Aotearoa and around the world.

When you search for top poems about death online, Google helpfully shows you a list of other related questions, including What poet writes about death? Perhaps the question should really be What poet doesn't write about death?

Poetry (and as we will explore very soon, songwriting) can evoke emotions in a way that perhaps other forms of writing cannot.

In Jackson's book, there's a helpful index and the back and 'death & grief' is one of the key topics, with no less than 34 pages exploring poems about end of life and bereavement.

The book opens with a short poem by John Keats, which Jackson describes as the most haunting representation she knows of the power of poetry to reach out to another person, even after death.
KŌRERO / CONVERSATION
Meet Nick Feint
Nick Feint, who is based in Golden Bay, has been playing guitar and writing songs for over 25 years. He is the father of two (about to be three) and a successful jeweller.

Nick has always loved playing music and has just released his second album, Next Exit from Babylon.

He brings heartfelt storytelling to his songwriting style and draws audiences into his performances with his authentic Kiwi style.

Three of the tracks on the album were inspired by Nick's experiences with the fragility of life, and loss and grief.

'Another Good Man' is inspired by Nick's relationship with his good friend and mentor Peter Hopkins who died of cancer on Daffodil Day in 2008. The track was recorded and produced by Levity Beet Music and features Charlotte Yates on backing vocals.

'The Longest Day' and 'Song for Theo' explore the emotional terrain Nick and his ex-wife Sybille had to navigate when their first son was born at 25 weeks. It was touch and go for the first week, with Theo almost dying three times.

Theo is now a strapping young 18-year-old man who is following in his father's footsteps as a musician.

Nick nominated his song, 'Grace', as one he would like played at his funeral or wake. You can listen to it in our 'Farewell songs' playlist.
'Another Good Man'
by Nick Feint
DEATH ON SCREEN
'Good Bones' by Maggie Smith
One of the poems Anna Jackson included in her latest book, Actions & Travels, which I talked about at the beginning of today’s show, is ‘Good Bones’ by American poet Maggie Smith.

Originally published in the journal Waxwing in June 2016, ‘Good Bones’ went viral on Twitter back in 2016, in the wake of a nightclub shooting in Florida, cementing Smith as one of the leading poetic voices in the Twitterverse. As Dan Kois writes in an article published on Slate, the poem spread all over social median because it wittily distilled a very particular feeling of being afraid about the world and daunted by the challenge of raising kids in.

Thanks to the Poetry Foundation you can listen to Maggie Smith reading Good Bones (see below for link).

‘Good Bones’ continues to be one of those poems that is shared widely on social media. Wikipedia estimates it has been read by at least one million people.