Hera Lindsay Bird: ‘I still don’t think of poetry as a serious career option’

The New Zealand poet reveals the exploding helicopters, 90s sitcom references and unembarrassed passions that have gone into her eponymous debut

It is an ungodly hour on a Wednesday morning and Hera Lindsay Bird’s disembodied head is telling me about the time that she wet herself at a supermarket checkout. “It was one of the great humiliations of my life,” she says, over Skype from her home in Wellington, New Zealand.

The reason I’m dragging it up again is because it is referenced in the first poem of her debut collection, the self-titled Hera Lindsay Bird, which came out to acclaim in New Zealand in 2016 and is released in the UK this month. “To be fourteen, and wet yourself extravagantly / At a supermarket checkout,” the poem Write a Book begins, “As urine cascades down your black lace stocking / And onto the linoleum / Is to comprehend what ...

Books teach children vital lessons – disobey your parents and you could end up in a pie | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Whether it’s Peter Rabbit or Tracy Beaker, books offer children valuable insights into the world. Let’s not allow austerity to restrict their access When I was younger, the thing I wanted most in the world was a Sega MegaDrive so that I could play Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter II and Donkey Kong. But my pleas fell on deaf ears. As childhood sob stories go, it’s hardly one of the worst, though (the fact that my youngest brother now owns almost every game console in existence is a textbook example of how parents relax their rules with each additional child). What not being allowed to play video games did mean, however, was that I spent most of my childhood reading. It may sound swotty, but when I was little, being let loose on a well-stocked library felt like being taken to a toy shop and allowed to choose whatever I ...