Winston Peters with apologies to Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the right.
I have walked out in rain, and back with Regaine
I have gutdragged the final Marlboro Light.

I have Brylcreemed the thinning old campaign
I have whizzed by the traffic cop on his beat
And wound down my window, unwilling to explain.

I have been one acquainted with the right.

Kate Camp was born in Wellington in 1972. Her first collection of poetry, Unfamiliar Legends of the Stars (1998) won the Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry at the 1999 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Her second volume, Realia, was published by Victoria University Press in 2001. She was the University of Waikato writer-in-residence for 2002. Camp has also contributed to the Montana Essay Series in 2002 with an essay entitled ‘On Kissing’.

Camp comments: ‘I was asked to write a poem with a political theme around the time of the 2002 elections. Winston Peters is one of New Zealand’s more flamboyant and content-free politicians, and seemed an excellent subject for a poet not particularly engaged with party politics.

Peters is known for his supernaturally lush and brilliantined hair, hence the reference to the baldness cure Regaine. Several years ago he was involved in a late night driving contretemps that is also referred to.

The Frost poem is one I particularly love. Every time I read it I am impressed by the complex structure of its rhyme and rhythm. Its film noir tone is perfect for Peters who, with his sharp suits and taste for hard liquor, seems very well acquainted with the night, as well as the right.’

Poem source details >



New Zealand Book Council writer file
Victoria University Press