Hills, Hills

Natasha Dennerstein Click to

DennersteinNatasha Dennerstein completed her Masters in Creative Writing at Victoria University, Wellington in 2011. Her poetry has been published in Landfall, Snorkel, Turbine, 4th Floor and other journals in print and online. She has a completed novel-in-verse manuscript in the process of publication. She is currently working on a series about bones and skulls in collaboration with Australian painter Kaye Freeman and also on a series of poems around the theme of cinema history. Some of her work can be seen on her Facebook page, Natasha Dennerstein Poetry.

Audio of Hills, Hills
you yellowgreen
hills roll seductively
in the early morning

you appear
in folds of earthflesh

and undulate
in the early afternoon
like buttocks

in olivedrab
army pants fatigued
at sundown

I want to wander
through your crevices
at the crack of dawn you

acid lemonlime/kiwifruit
regurgitated grass
lamb belly hills

damn you for making
me remember my
military lover

you blanc
you Sauvignon

Note: I wrote “Hills, Hills” recently with Shenandoah in mind as I didn’t have anything quintessentially New Zealandish. I wanted to capture a particular color spectrum of green/yellow that occurs here in our harsh antipodean light. The “military lover” intruded and sprang from the idea of army fatigue-clad buttocks and wouldn’t go away. Because of this, I jammed all those color words together near the end, by “happy accident” or otherwise. The style of pared down, unpunctuated poetry is a departure for me and one that I am happy with. So thanks, Shenandoah!


3 Responses to Hills, Hills

  1. Cassie McGinty says:

    I particularly loved Natasha Dennerstein’s audio clip of “The Hills.” The way that she emphasized each word and line break enhanced the imagery of the poem. Her diction used to describe the grass, the hills, and their nooks was surprising and refreshing. It made each image stand out. Her lack of punctuation was particularly powerful when coupled with the rolling hills of New Zealand.

  2. Annie says:

    This poem is so slow and striking and mournful, in a good way. It is narrative, but simple, and powerful. I like the unique combination of military and romance diction, as well as the physical imagery used to describe the hills. I particularly love the lines “acid lemonlime/kiwifruit /regurgitated grass.” The slash emphasizes the speakers anger, like color, and love, like the fruit; and “regurgitated grass” evokes feelings of loss and messiness that she feels from her relationship. Broadly, I appreciate this poem’s capturing of the idea that when humans are distraught, we can usually find a way to make even the most beautiful things resonate with and relate to our unhappiness. Going off of that, my favorite part of this poem is the end, both with the image “sauvignon hills,” and the apostrophe to the hills, as though they are responsible for the speaker’s anguish.

  3. Francesca Wilson says:

    I really like the limited amount of words in this poem. I think that the work’s simplicity allows for a great deal of personal imagination to influence a reading. When I look at this poem, I immediately am transported to the beautiful, and serene countryside of New Zealand, happily sipping a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc!

Comments are closed.