About the book
“The characters in these poems are typists, returned servicemen, teachers, people without pretension but with their own colourful inner lives. The title poem ‘Formica’ is subtle yet so rich with imagery that it brings to mind a compressed Alice Munro story.” — Fiona Kidman
“Each poem in Formica tells a story that grabs you with its pace, perception and delicious detail. Together, they offer a picture of an entire cohort of Kiwi women growing up in the 1950s and 60s. I love this book: so idiosyncratic, yet so nostalgic.” — Rachel McAlpine
Formica begins in 1950s Richmond with the author’s family struggling in the aftermath of a war that took her father to Crete to fight and then Poland as a prisoner of war. At the Formica kitchen table, Maggie’s mother is reciting poems while chopping the veggies for tea. Maggie listens while tying her boots for marching practice. Poems follow her as she makes her way in the world – working as a typist, doing her OE, becoming a wife, a mother and grandmother …
An unsentimental writer of honesty and humour, Maggie nods to the lives of all women of her generation – too often defined by their fertility and kitchen appliances when there was fun and fulfilment to be had elsewhere. Not that Maggie doesn’t adore her Kenwood mixer, but it lines up with abiding friendships, granddaughters, travel, sex and the joy of words.