The Burnt Hotel by Olivia Macassey
Taking the reader from inner-city Auckland to fairy-tale clearings and finally into the burnt hotel itself, these lyrical poems chart the terrain where the ordinary meets the fantastical, a vivid world of “other people’s lives” populated by lovers and rent-boys, sleep-walkers and monsters. At its core is a subtle exploration of embodiment and the nature of being human.
The Burnt Hotel plays out like a dark melody. With what one poem calls ‘the violence of dedication’, the writing returns to particular words, lines and feelings like a ballad does to a refrain: loss, love, lemonade, a razorblade. Olivia Macassey’s poems will lead you down strange, new streets. They’ll follow you home. — Hinemoana Baker