Book Cover

The Presence of Love: Poems Selected and New

The Presence of Love is a collection of poems by a UK-born Californian Professor and poet, who has been writing since the 1960s. The poems are drawn from published material from the past 40 years in periodicals, anthologies and from unpublished works. Written in a mixture of verse styles, Duffett’s mode shows a tendency for the sonnet and the shorter lyric, with philosophical, scholarly, spiritual and metaphysical concerns for the natural world and the human condition.

The book is edited by Wellington writer and literary scholar Mark Pirie and follows on from the feature of Michael Duffett’s work in broadsheet: new new zealand poetry in 2017. The author once visited New Zealand in 1979 on a lecturing tour and the publication continues Duffett’s long-term association with the country. Also included is a Foreword by Duffett and an Appendix detailing his 1979 visit along with a number of poems relating to the New Zealand poets Allen Curnow, C.K. Stead, Denis Glover and K.O. Arvidson.

"It’s a pleasure to read this selection of Michael Duffett’s poems, admirably edited by Mark Pirie. They read as moments in a life lived richly and to the full, records of what William Blake called ‘the minute particulars’, placed and spaced through varied moods and stylistic modes. Michael Duffett’s vision is generous, hospitable, and humane. The poems reveal a love of family and friends, people and things, cultures and creatures, and a consistent refusal to compromise with hypocrisy or injustice – all laced with wit, humour, and detailed observation. Above all, this fine book communicates a sense of meaningfulness, awe and wonder, threaded through the vagaries of human experience and the ravages of time. The key: a passionate empathy." —Richard Berengarten, UK