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The thread of dissent that runs through some of the poems probably reflects my cultural heritage. My grandparents emigrated to Canada in 1899 from the Caucasus region of southern Georgia. They had been exiled from the Russian Orthodox Church as dissenters. They were called Doukhobortsy (’Spirit wrestlers’) since they were seen as wrestling with and for the Spirit of God. They later became pacifists and took a stand against militarism and refused to serve in the Tsarist’s army. The poems cover a 35-year period from 1959 to 1994 and resemble an album of family photos of events, places and people — each with a story to tell. During this time I moved from being a poet, to a journalist, to a lab technician then a research scientist and finally an academic at a university in New Zealand in 1969. These poems are messages to myself and represent a search for a meaning to life — the wrestling with my spirit. Along the way I took time out for love, religion, travel and navel gazing.

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