Mark Laurent



“Your writing always takes me to a larger and deeper place.”

- Joy Cowley

I’m an ‘occasional’ author. I started writing poetry well before I wrote songs, and from my mid teens I admired poets such as Kahlil Gibran, Leonard Cohen & James K Baxter. For a time I was the ‘resident musician’ with a group of Auckland performance poets, so I got to hear a lot of good writing, and I guess I developed a certain covetousness of their craft, especially when I saw them producing their own books.

My own first attempt came in 1995, with Perhaps... where I pulled together everything half-decent I’d written up to that point. Over time I’ve refined my craft a fair bit, publishing 4 collections of poetry & an illustrated children’s book, RUFUS AND THE RAIN. I’ve written articles and reviews for NZ and international magazines. I’ve also kept journals since the 1970s - a good seed-bed for poems, stories and songs.

“There is a sense of ‘quietness’ that is immediately noticeable when you begin reading this book (Snapshot Of A Soul In Transit). Despite whatever busyness is going on around you, the poems draw you in and make you breathe. This is communicated with simplicity without being simplistic. When you slow down, as Mark did in writing these poems, you begin to notice things – details. There is an art to noticing, and Mark is an expert in it.”

- Andrew Killick, Castle Publishing

For several years Brenda & I were ‘role models’ for Duffy Books In Homes, an organization that gets free books to children in lower decile schools. This meant that we traveled the country, visiting schools, often in poorer or rural communities, and put on a show based around my RUFUS book (which all the schools have in their libraries). It was a great way to combine the words and music.

I’ve often included poems in our concert setlist.  People who don’t normally read poetry seem to warm to it because they get to ‘hear’ it - perhaps it’s an artifact of childhood, liking someone to read to us?

“Hi Mark. Are you still happy for me to reprint the occasional poem in Grapevine? I'd like to use "Jesus, did you ever..." in our next edition just prior to Easter, if that's okay. Your writings are brilliant, by the way. I've always admired your ability to avoid that awful religious smell that spoils so much that Christians create - your insights touch people out there on the spiritual fringes (which, let's face it, is where the vast majority of ordinary folk live, myself included). Please keep putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboards, or however-the-heck you do it, mate. New Zealand needs you, and lots of us appreciate you.”

- John (Cooney, Grapevine Magazine

Photo: Brenda Liddiard