Mark Mitchinson appears in a film version of a classic Allen Curnow poem (Image: Going West)

Poetry season: a bracing walk on the black sand, with Allen Curnow

We continue our season of poems set to video with a classic, courtesy of Going West.

Allen Curnow! Dead 20 years, still raring to go, still great on geographic anxieties, masculinities, the passing of time.

The poet built a bach out at Karekare in the 1960s and it was there that he caught his breath, found his second wind. The bach was built on Lone Kauri Road, a green fairytale tunnel, a hairy drive when it’s wet or there are dickheads about. Unsurprisingly, this road “roping seaward in the rainforest” became an inspiration: in 1986 Curnow published a collection named after it.

Here, the title poem The Loop in Lone Kauri Road becomes a short video, directed by Adam Jones. Mark Mitchinson’s performance is an experience in itself: we recommend shutting your eyes and just listening, the first time, then run through it again, eyes wide open. Concentrate! Curnow orders, and this film is a gift, a rare chance to do just that.

You can see last week’s poems set to film here, and more of Going West at

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