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This article is taken from PN Review 81, Volume 18 Number 1, September - October 1991.

Wings of Gold: A Week Among Poets Bill Manhire

A few years ago one of the present authors, then in Malaysia, was approached by a visiting New Zealand Member of Parliament. 'I have just two important questions for you,' he said. 'What is really going on in this country, and what are the names of the two main types of dress worn by Chinese women here?'

R.S. MILNE and DIANE K. MAUZY, Malaysia: Tradition,
Modernity, and Islam

HIGH ABOVE the Australian interior I sit in a Malaysia Airlines DCI0 - knees under my chin, Wings of Gold on my knees. I am on my way to the third Kuala Lumpur World Poetry Reading. I open and re-read the letter that came with my flight ticket.

I am faintly confused about my name. In this letter I am addressed as Manhire, but an earlier fax from the organizers came to Billo Manhire. They are probably confused because they had been banking on getting Cilla McQueen. Cilla has had to pull out in favour of her theatre piece, Red Rose .Cafe, which is about to premiere in Dunedin. But the Billo is rather good. Friends have debated its appropriateness: does it suggest a failed Hobbit or a mild abrasive? Or is Billo built on the model of the missing Cilla? 'From Cilla to Billo' - it has a certain ring. There might be an essay on New Zealand poetry here.

The in-flight magazine, Wings of Gold, is written mostly in English. ...


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