A land ballot was the means by which Fleur Adcock's grandparents, immigrants from Manchester during World War I, were able to bid for a piece of native bush on the slopes of Mount Pirongia in the North Island of New Zealand. Their task was to turn this unpromising acreage into a dairy farm. When things didn't work out as they had hoped much of the responsibility for running the farm and engineering their eventual escape fell on their teenage son, Adcock's father. This sequence of poems follows the course of their efforts and builds up a portrait of a small, isolated community. At once a moving family memoir, an extraordinary act of historical imagination, and a dazzling sequence of poems, The Land Ballot will be embraced by a wide New Zealand readership.
Born in New Zealand in 1934, Fleur Adcock spent the war years in England, returning with her family to New Zealand in 1947, and has lived in Britain since 1963, with regular visits to New Zealand. She has published many collections of poems, including her collected poems, Poems 1960-2000 (2000), and ten years later Dragon Talk (2010). Her many awards include the 1961 Festival of Wellington Poetry Award, the Jessie Mackay Prize in 1968 and 1972, the Buckland Award in 1968 and 1979, the New Zealand National Book Award in 1984, an OBE in 1986, a CNZM in 2008, and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2006. Her most recent book is Glass Wings (VUP, 2013).