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AUCKLAND, New Zealand (September 4, 2002 - PINA Nius Online)---Albert Wendt, university professor and award-winning Samoan writer, has broken new ground with his latest work, "The Book of the Black Star," combining art and poetry.

"The Book of the Black Star" combines words and images in short poems. These draw on Samoan language and myth, and on dreams and memories, as well as on the daily life of the writer.

Professor Wendt said he poured forth these "imagetexts" last year, suddenly finding the words took shape on the page and expanded into drawings.

Their rolling black lines recall the worlds of tattoo, of siapo (tapa) and of graffiti.

But they also perfectly express the central motif of the black star, a mysterious force that drives the collection, he said.

Selected images from "The Book of the Black Star" have also been made into limited edition prints with the advice and assistance of artist/printmakers Beth Serjeant and Claudia Pond-Eyley.

"The Book of the Black Star" was launched, during the Auckland University Press Seeing Voices Poetry Festival, by artist, writer and filmmaker Selwyn Muru.

At the same event, the New Zealand electronic poetry centre launched its Albert Wendt web page,

Professor Wendt is currently a Professor of English, specializing in New Zealand and Pacific Literatures and Creative Writing, at the University of Auckland.

He was made Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001 for his services to literature.

Professor Wendt was born in Tauese, Samoa, in 1939.

He is a former principal of Samoa College and former professor of Pacific literature and pro-vice-chancellor at the University of the South Pacific.

He has published five novels, several collections of short stories and poetry, articles on Pacific writing and art, and has edited various anthologies of Pacific writing.

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