“There are times in this tough-minded and tender-hearted book when you are persuaded that your odds are not good. On the other hand there are moments — and moments matter for Wes Lee — when the balance of the universe tips back in your favour.”
~ Murray Edmond, Landfall Review (233)
Wes Lee is based in Auckland, New Zealand. She was the 2010 recipient of the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Literary Award, New Zealand’s foremost award for the short story, and has won a number of prizes for her writing. Most recently she was awarded second place in The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2015, third place in the 2014 Troubadour Poetry Prize in London, and shortlisted for the Frogmore Poetry Prize 2016, and the Remember Oluwale Prize 2016 in the UK.
Murray Edmond chose Shooting Gallery as one of the 2016 books he loved:
“Another first book that will reward is Wes Lee’s Shooting Gallery (Steele Roberts, 2016). She knows about violence: “my flatmate appeared in the hall/covered in blood of his own making.” But also about love: a pair of lovers hunting a flea together in bed makes for a comic, erotic dance (pace John Donne). “The body is where you begin” could be a tag for this whole book of short sharp poems that knock against your skull. There’s a woman living in a car, there’s a clown living in you, there’s a couple living in a barn with a dog and a boar, there’s a memory living in a hotel, there’s a self living in a mirror. Transcendental this is not. A book stuffed with tough stuff.”
In Takahē magazine, Carolyn McCurdie writes:
“[Shooting Gallery] is stunning. The poems are assured, brave … The body is prime. And although throughout the collection pain and indignity are often a given, there is also a glorying in the physical, the sensual; there is verve, and poems that punch the air celebrating survival. I love the laughter, dance, and sheer physical pleasure of “Folding the Sheets” … It is striking that in these poems, no one is judged. The first thing that Wes Lee concerns herself with in Shooting Gallery is the humanity of each person. Here, the last shall be first, and she ensures that, in this marvellous collection, we know why this should be the case.”