Flash Frontier

Book Launch: Gail Ingram, Contents Under Pressure

Interviews and Features

Launch details

Come and celebrate the new poetry collection by Christchurch poet and Flash Frontier editor Gail Ingram, illustrated by Rata Ingram.
Tuesday, 30 April 2019
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Spark Room, Tūranga Central Library, Christchurch

About Contents under Pressure

Contents Under Pressure is a poetry collection that tells a story of a mother-turned-graffiti artist in Christchurch. It blends poetry, narrative and collage, and is complemented by collage-style illustrations. Thought-provoking and unsettling, this book takes a fresh look at the effects of the Christchurch earthquakes on a mother of teenagers who experience mental health and drug issues as they grow up during a disaster.

It is for:

  • Readers of poetry, flash fiction, novels in flash, novels in poetry
  • Parents and those interested in the issues facing young people today
  • Those interested in the effects of disasters on personal, social and political levels
  • Art lovers, street-art lovers and graffit-art lovers
  • Those who love texture and layers, aestheticism and experimentation in language and form
  • Readers who want something new, beyond the novel
  • People who enjoy reading Bernadette Hall, Tusiata Avia, David Eggleton, Sarah Jane Barnett, Ann Carson

What people are saying

Years after the Christchurch earthquakes, the breakages continue. A young physics student is falling apart. His mother takes to the streets at night, tagging her rage and anguish onto the city’s walls. Their story is raw, painful, brave and at times strangely hilarious. Language is shattered in these pages, street art conjures up the nightmares. There’s energy to burn here. Many will feel a tug of recognition as they read. It’s all part of our shared history.

—Bernadette Hall

Gail Ingram has pulled off something special here. The collection offers a freshness of style and vision. The poems are packed with original, vivid imagery, often visually striking and, to my ear, pitch perfect. They accrue narrative power as the collection progresses. The sequence explores themes of connection and disconnection, subtly advocates for the place of art and language in witnessing the effects of trauma and in providing routes to recovery.

—Sue Wootton


The canvas

winner of the NZPS International Poetry Competition in 2016 Prefabricated tilt-slab with steel reinforcing shipped from a Guangzhou factory a city street long. Delivered by a bevy of cranes criss-crossing a hung sky. Slung with ropes hauled by fat-muscled builders driving aluminium SUVs splattered with spun-patterns of river-mud. Pulled vertical, it blocks the U-line of the hills between Mt Cavendish and Castle Rock, shines a white burr on the retina. The press applauds. Up close, at night, the slanted shadow, fallen across a security-lit carpark, cloaks her silhouette, the concrete wraps cold around her paint-stained fingers. She sways against the wall, a weed scratching sounds in the wind.


Previously published in Leaving the Red Zone: Poems from the Canterbury Earthquakes, Ed. James Norcliffe and Joanna Preston When the four-cornered skyline under the floating hammer of the Southern Alps fell into piles of grey rubble and liquid, the folds and depressions from above looked to be forming clumps of grey matter. A son gurgled tunes of teen rebellion on water pipes, his brother dragged nails down precipitous self-set scales of academic heights, leaving blood-streaked trails, while their father grasped for papers and docs, tossed in the air like dust, and their mother picked up the grey silt of their wounds till it got too much, till everything slid into fissures of grey, the university, billboards, shops. And the family were seen dazed, branching outwards onto the streets, waving blind fingers, sending out sparks, creating their own fuzzy pathways around the city.

Buy Contents under Pressure

In New Zealand, buy Contents Under Pressure direct from Pūkeko Publication by bank transfer:

  • Amount: $25. NZ preorders before 30 April 2019 receive free p&p!
  • Account name: K Zelas
  • Account number: 010797 0283318 00
  • Reference: Your name + INGRAM
  • Email your name and postal address to gailzingram@gmail.com.

For overseas orders, email gailzingram@gmail.com.

For more information and preorders, please visit Gail’s website, theseventhletter.nz

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