This immensely readable collection is among the most accessible wellloved poet Janet Charman has written. Her poems always emerge out of ordinary daily experience, the life with which her readers are only too familiar. By illuminating this world she broadens perceptions and understandings without romance or melodrama. The stunning first part of Cold Snack explores the pains and pleasures (mostly the pains) of becoming a schoolteacher in midlife; the second, a single long sequence, 'Televisioner', recalls a period spent as receptionist for a television broadcaster; in the final bitter-sweet and more intimate section, 'lyricism combines with observation to produce some of the most powerful poems'. The poems about teaching will appeal to teachers everywhere but also to anyone who has ever risen early to get a head start by putting out the washing and possibly forgoing breakfast. The setting for 'televisioner' is a television station where the telephone operator was too insignificant for the (now well-known) rising news star to introduce to her friend and is full of working life incidents, adding up to the absolute flavour of work.
Charman's ear for the spoken language and her acute awareness of the sounds, shapes, colours around us and the way they are inhabited by our emotions make her poems both moving and impressive.
JANET CHARMAN was the 1997 Writer in Residence at the University of Auckland and is the author of five previous collections.