The first full collection of poetry by Phil Kawana, The Devil in my Shoes is engaging, readable and personable. Kawana?s New Zealand childhood, ?built with ice block sticks? where ?Even the dog / was communal?, is the source of the poems? strong and angry voice confronting political and social injustice: ?We don?t allow / your kind in the house?, he was told by a friend?s mother at a birthday party. The collection also contains love poems showing a natural lyrical impulse and strong patterns of imagery that tie the four sections together. These contrasts and counterpoints give the poems their distinctive character and their very real strength. ?I want to change the world / almost as much as my son / wants a new pair of shoes?, writes Kawana, and this collection expresses the triumphs and frustrations of that attempt.
Phil Kawana is an award-winning short-story writer, poet, and performer. He is the author of Attack of the Skunk People and Dead Jazz Guys.