Tag Archives: Iain Britton poems

Iain Britton’s tusitala of white lies

Iain Britton was born and educated in Palmerston North, New Zealand. He spent many years living and teaching in London, followed by a period of time working as an EFL teacher in Bournemouth. During the 1980s Iain taught in such rural areas as Manutuke and Taupo in the North Island of New Zealand. He now teaches at a large independent school for boys in Auckland.
Iain’s poems have appeared in numerous magazines, including Ambit, Agenda, Stand, The Reader, Staple, Orbis, The Wolf, Tinfish, Poetry Salzburg Review, Jacket, Cordite, The Warwick Review, Harvard Review, Stride, Blackbox Manifold, Shadowtrain, Horizon Review, Great Works, Free Verse, and BlazeVOX.
He has published four previous books, Hauled Head First Into A Leviathan (Cinnamon Press, 2008, shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection), Liquefaction (IP, 2009), Cravings (Oystercatcher Press, 2009), and Punctured Experimental (Kilmog Press, 2010). tusitala of white lies is published by Like This Press.
“Comprising six sequences, tusitala of white lies is a meditative, fragile and frequently beautiful collection of poems. Concerned with delicacy of phrase as well as the space of the page, Iain’s poetry is about breath, and thought, and the way language maps the shape and rhythm of a life.

tusitala of white lies is published as a limited edition run of 200 individually numbered hand-bound copies with hand-stamped covers and printed on heavyweight vellum laid cream paper with various tissue paper inserts.”
tusitala of white lies

a million blackbirds

     fling full stops at the horizon
but who do I prefer to believe –

  the lady in black feathers

          who owns and occupies

               a fig tree

or the slothful bugger

     who lives in the letter box

posting mail to himself

          or the toilet roll author

               of Kingdom Street

          the tusitala of white lies

               of uninhibited wafflings /
the view from here

          is global / inviting
               extinct frogs

     continue to purse their lips

to chirp (bird-like) through solitary séances
               the moon’s /           a cold lump

stuck hard

and helmeted
               but I prefer               the brunette

                    her feather cloak

                 her moulting shadow          her strut
          I coax her to come in

               share the dilated vista of another’s reality
I’m the tourist guide bus driver jesus janitor / the son
reorganising the future footprints of a family yet to cement
its language in stone in grubby layers broken like old teeth

another thing?

I walk through my house every day

to the sound

               of water music

          a forest shuffling its roots

          doors opening shutting

          a mango melting at the altar of my mouth
but then

          not all is at right angles

                         all isn’t the perfect hideout

                    for this fresh-air junkie


          a dreamtime jaunt

          an astral flight /
          with no strings dangling
loose-limbed haloes

               break down

          reviving an animal magnetism
     I retreat into the hood of my consciousness

                 groping for the lady’s


          her tightening grip – this flesh

                 and blood

                         mix of polarities
from tusitala of white lies (Like This Press, 2012).

Order tusitala of white lies.

Visit Iain’s website and blog.