William Direen

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William Direen
Cover of New Sea Land by Bill DIREEN 2005 ISBN 0-9582586-4-3.jpg
Direen at Kawakawa, New Zealand, on cover of book of poems written there.
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Direen
Also known asBill Direen
  • Musician
  • Poet
  • Critic
  • vocals
  • guitar
Years active1975–present
Associated acts

William (Bill) Direen (born 1957) is a New Zealand writer and performer. His writing ranges from fiction to poetry. From 2006 to 2017 he edited the trans-cultural literary magazine Percutio. For his performance activities see The Bilders. He lives in Otago, New Zealand.


  • Enclosures 4, final volume of the Enclosures series; ten pieces of writing of various genres (eg. essay, song lyrics, fiction, interview). 2018. Enclosures4 info
  • Enclosures 3, cross-generic novel in five parts, containing a diary of an outpatient, experimental fiction, a further chapter in an ongoing 'knovel', travel diary and creative essay. ISBN 978-09951010-05. 2017. Enclosures3 info
  • Enclosures 2, cross-generic novel in five parts, containing auto-biography, poetry, fiction, science fiction (zootopia) and utopian vision. ISBN 979-10-91280-04-4. 2016. Enclosures2 info
  • Christchurch, Canal City, futuristic utopian vision of a Christchurch preserving historical suburban identities, with elevated trains, networks of canals and a unique approach to organising society. Published in Percutio 2014, Nr. 8.
  • The Book of Flanagan a semi-mythical history of Christchurch from creation of the region by a 'fictitious' god called Thong, pre-history, flora and fauna, arrival of humans, up until recent events. Edition of one. Handwritten in capitals, in a self-made booklet, exhibited at Christchurch Art Gallery as part of larger exhibition (containing many booklets filled by guests), brainchild of artist Scott Flanagan, 2011.
  • Onaevia (E-book of 2002 fable, containing mythology and appendices of an imaginary people, 2015). [1]
  • The Ballad of Rue Belliard (Novel, The Writers Group, 2013). Author name, Guillaume Direen. An experimental romance set within a community on the outer perimeter of Paris. Entire issue of ISSN 1175-9313 No. 48.
  • Versions Translations (Poetry, Kilmog Press, 2014). Responses to a range of European language poems.
  • Utopia Rag (Novel, Tank Press, 2014). Reissue of the road novel of 2002, set in the South Island of New Zealand.
  • Wormwood (Novel, Titus Books, 2012). Limited reissue of the 1997 experimental novel set in Berlin. Sold at readings and performances only.
  • Tourtagebuch (Diary, Titus Books, 2012). ISBN 979-10-91280-00-6. German translation by Arno Loeffler of Direen's 1994 personal diary of a European performance tour.
  • Fallen to a Field. Poem in five parts recorded with Jonathan Crayford (piano) at NZ Embassy in Paris. 30 mins. Broadcast Radio New Zealand Concert, 10 July 2012.
  • Dunedin Poems (Kilmog Press, 2011). ISBN 978-0-9864665-5-7
  • Radio Play for a Defunct Station, chapbook (available with performance at Depot Artspace, Devonport, 2010).
  • Devonport, A Diary Diary impressions of Devonport, Auckland, during tenure of the University of Auckland Fellowship at the Michael King Writers Centre in 2010. (Signalmans House Series Nº.1, Holloway Press, University of Auckland, 2011) ISBN 978-0-9864618-0-4
  • L. A novella, set in New Zealand in the midst of guerrilla warfare between two economic factions; the world has been reshaped after geological upheavals. Published in an anthology of NZ speculative fiction writers A Foreign Country. (Random Static. Anna Caro & Juliet Buchanan, editors). 2010. ISBN 978-0-473-16916-9
  • Enclosures (Novel, Titus Books) Transgeneric novel in five parts including Jonah (at Kapiti), The Stadium (history of a people confined to a biosphere), and autobiographical content. 2008 ISBN 978-1-877441-06-6 Enclosures (1) info
  • Song of the Brakeman (Novel, 2006). Apocalyptic vision of a future South Pacific. Science fiction novel. (Titus Books) ISBN 0-9582586-7-8
  • Jules (Novel, 2003). 24 hours in the life of a Parisian art teacher, who is hallucinating characters from the paintings he researches. (Alpha Books) ISBN 0958326649 / 9780958326643
  • Onaevia (Fable, 2002). History and mythology of an imaginary land. (Alpha Books) ISBN 0-9583266-0-6
  • Editor Percutio, ISSN 1953-1427, a trans-cultural literary annual (poetry, fiction extracts, translations & versions, essays, reviews and history). 2006, −07, −08, −09, −10, −11, −12, −13, −14, −15. 16, 17. Guest Editor of Landfall No. 219 'On Music'. ISBN (of No. 219 only) 978-1-877372 98-8; brief No. 36 and No. 42 (ISSN 1175-9313).

Critical responses[edit]

Bill Direen with guitar at the microphone singing 'Alligator Song'

*Early theatre work (1981–87): "hard driving rhythms and surreal imagery".[1]

  • James K. Baxter's Three Mimes "receive[d] intelligent and effective treatment".[2]
  • To Bitumen (play) "an evocative memory piece… strong on physical sensations".[3]
  • To Fowkes Alive (music-theatre): "a struggle against primeval and futuristic obstacles",[4] "a gentle 'musical delirium' which raises smiles rather than laughter",[5] "the surrealistic tale of a 'petrolhead' whose life flashes before his eyes the moment that he dies in a violent accident"[6]
  • To Dial a Claw (music-theatre): "a living experiment in alternative staging";[7]
  • To Raoul (song cycle): "an exploration of exploitation",[8] a story told "from its beginnings in the wastelands of kiwi suburbia to its chilly… conclusion.".[9]
  • To Wormwood: "Entropy and death read as metaphors for the implosion of post-war Europe and the failure of capitalism.".[10]
  • To Nusquama: "A well-written often humorous paradigm for the 21st century".[11]
  • To The Impossible: "Direen's heightened ear for absurdity serves this collection well"[12]
  • To Jules: "Romantic stereotypes collide noisily with modern realities and growing older means a confused prostate and even more complexing emotions. Jules is the story of a man at life's pivotal point.".[13] "It's a delightful book, but it's a book to read as series of literary compositions."[14] Jules was also described as "an indolent digression through European culture, art and Paris."[15]
  • To the novellas: "a quick and devastating appearance"[16]
  • To Song of the Brakeman: "a vividly conceived world here, manifesting slowly and brilliantly through its accumulating signs"[17]
  • To Versions Translations: "the dark-tinted heart of the night, in the dense heart of the shade and very centre of the wind." Jacques Coulardeau imaginative critique, 2014.
  • To Versions Translations: "uses lovely – what I think of as reverse or encapsulating – cadences." Jan Kemp criticism, 2014.
  • To the documentary 'A Memory of Others': "[situates] him within the 20th century poetic and wider literary traditions".[18]


  1. ^ Lisa Warrington, NZ Books, October 2003
  2. ^ John Farnsworth, Christchurch Press, 16 November 1984
  3. ^ Lisa Warrington, NZ Books, October 2003
  4. ^ Jane Bowron, Dominion, June 1989
  5. ^ Laurie Atkinson, Evening Post, June 1989
  6. ^ Neil Hickman, Music New Zealand, 1991
  7. ^ Mark Gobbi, March 1991, City Voice
  8. ^ Direen turns stage-show into mini rock-opera, Evening Post, Wednesday 10 March 1993
  9. ^ Bernadette Rae, NZ Herald, 25 July 1992
  10. ^ Virginia Were, NZ Listener, 23 June 1997
  11. ^ Anna Chinn, NZ Listener, December 2002
  12. ^ Kate Belgrave, Listener, 25 May 2002.
  13. ^ Christopher Moore, The Press, Christchurch, 27 March 2004
  14. ^ David Hill reviewing Jules on 10 December 2004. Radio New Zealand, National Programme.
  15. ^ Norman Bilbrough, Listener, May 2004.
  16. ^ Kapka Kassabova, Listener 16 January 1999.
  17. ^ Jen Crawford, Landfall 214, November 2007.
  18. ^ https://www.pantograph-punch.com/post/bill-direen-a-memory-of-others

External links[edit]