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Compelling writing that challenges our ideas of what it is to be human, incorporating Disjunct Books

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Out of the way world here comes humanity!

Keith Hill

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Or buy direct from Attar Books
Picture humanity crammed into
a gigantic kick-ass double cab ute
burning through fossil fuel
like there’s no tomorrow
our symbol of what’s important
— crucifix tractor Buddha furry kiwi
bullet dollar sign fluffy red dice —
bouncing under the rear-view mirror
as we drive like crazy
veering right then left
indifferent to the roadkill ...

Ranging from an individual’s birth to the death of the planet, this urgent collection reflects back to us the perilous state of our world. Written by a fed up boomer determined to call out our collective stupidity, Out of the way world is simultaneously justifiably cynical, cavalierly mocking and bitingly realistic.

“Up-to-the-minute reportage on our fraught zeitgeist, conveyed with vitality and satirical humour.” — Hugh Major

“Pertinent to some of the world’s biggest challenges. A thought- provoking and incredibly poignant read for anyone grappling with the climate crisis.” — Alva Feldmeier, Executive Director, 350 Aotearoa

“Hauntingly on the nose. I love this collection. I think everyone should read it right now! Many lines bear rereading and copying for future quotation. I stopped making my list before the end and just enjoyed. It is wonderful!” — Judith Hoch

“New Zealand literature has no one quite like Keith Hill. Always surprising, a genuine original.” — Roger Horrocks
120 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 inches / 140 x 216 mm
ISBN Paperback: 978-1-99-115707-2
Ebook: 978-1-99-115709-6
Hardcover: 978-1-99-115708-9

Keith hill is a writer and filmmaker who has looked seriously at the world, and is convinced it is not fit for purpose. We have to do something about that. This book is one small contribution to getting us to collectively wake up.
Sample poems

Let’s start with some friendly advice.
It’s offered with the best intentions
but you may wish to follow your
elders’ lead and consider nothing
this serious in a state of sobriety.
The truth is your elders hate you.
They have written promissory notes
for the future and crossed their
fingers they will be long gone
when nature comes to collect.
And that’s the good news.

You have surely noticed by now
your elders’ approach to solving
today’s most intractable problems
is to employ experts who closely
analyse all relevant data then blame
those they won’t allow to respond.
The blamed when I was young included
hippies students communists
unions workers the unemployed
radicals liberals immigrants
unmarried mothers abortionists the PC
feminists homosexuals transbetweeners
out of touch old people and the young.
Having identified the requisite causes
the experts then write up their findings
in bulging reports that contain copious
data analysis graphs and footnotes
the principal purpose of which is
to show value for money.
With suitable ceremony these reports
are presented to the authorities
who skim read the executive summaries
then recite with great fervour
a speech recycled from the year before
noting the need for “all of us together”
to energetically address X Y or Z.
Months later a media release put out
late one Friday night states the report
has been filed in a cabinet labelled
For Future Consideration.

This is how the modern world advances—
in a stuttering two-step performed
to music played by an om-pah-pah band
marching in a gleaming town hall
where if you look behind the scenes
you’ll see the walls are constructed
from imported plebiscites propped up
by poles extruded from hydrocarbons
precariously tied with contested agendas.
The impressive gleam is produced by
lacquer blended from ambition dissolved
in pragmatism painted on by
minimally paid migrant workers
who are blamed both for being
and for not being in the country
but business leaders in private admit
they need because cheap labour
drives their profit margins.
The conclusion is we should be grateful
because things could be worse.

As your stint in the education machine
comes to a close you are likely wondering
what your own future promises.
From my educated perspective
gained by having screwed up my own life
several times
I have just three pieces of advice.
Don’t get distracted by what’s in front of you.
(The big decisions are happening elsewhere.)
Don’t be naive.
(When have words and actions ever aligned?)
And don’t give in to despair.
Because things could be worse.
(Actually they soon will be.)
I guess that’s it.
Otherwise chin up stay positive don’t slouch.
And don’t make any long-term plans.


The politician scratches the audience’s back with
their favourite slogans left over from the last election.

The politician is a centrist who hangs his right shoe
on his left ear and speaks out the side of his mouth.

The politician first denies a problem exists then blames
the opposition then wants it left for the next election.

The politician ignores the students outside chanting
“Dinosaur!” as he studies the latest polling numbers.

The politician is gob-smacked when told his policies
align exactly with the prejudices of voters who back him.

The politician blows up indignantly when he’s accused
of wanting to win more than do what the country needs.

The politician projects himself as the last great hope
in a world where hope has replaced having a future.


The millennial wakes each morning to stare glumly
into a hole that was once the promise of a life.

The millennial orders a double shot decaf almond
milk latte and hunts for prophecies in the froth.

The millennial seeks solace in spirituality because their
parents’ neoliberal capitalism is crashing the planet.

The millennial zooms seminars and masterclasses
hoping to meet the person they would like to be.

The millennial coats themself in probiotic goop
and surrenders to the process of transformation.

The millennial tries to beat depressing emptiness
by learning the Tao of mindfully being without having.

The millennial has a satori they’ll never be trapped by
possessions because boomers have taken everything.


I’m the individual.
For a long time I floated in warm darkness
feeling nurtured and loved.
Then I was ejected into a world
of harsh light and hands that
beat me till I screamed.
I’m the individual.
People loomed in my face
jumped me on their knees
jabbed fingers into my cheeks.
I learned to grit my teeth.
I’m the individual.
By giggling and crying I found
I could get what I wanted.
I learned to manipulate the oohs and aahs
that flitted all day before my face.
I grew chubby on my new skill.
I’m the individual.
Next came language.
Through a natural process
of neurological and cultural osmosis
sound merged into the names
for people and things.
I especially liked the names for me.
I’m the individual.
Simultaneously I discovered legs.
I learned to walk towards what I wanted
and run from what I didn’t.
I felt the consequence of being caught.
I’m the individual.
Soon after I discovered the difference
between what is mine and not-mine.
That just because I held something
didn’t make it mine.
Or stop others taking it.
Or me taking it back.
I’m the individual.
Without being asked
I found myself being educated.
My tongue and mind were stuffed
into a pedagogical meat grinder
and mashed into predetermined shapes
to help me say and think what
everyone else said and thought.
I’m the individual.
Later I was dumped on the streets
and instructed to wrest a living from
the whirl of commerce.
If I did not willingly take part
I would be stigmatised a loser.
I didn’t realise it then but
work is institutionally structured
to make other people rich.
I was forced to work not to avoid stigma
or to make others wealthy
but because I would go hungry and cold.
I’m the individual.