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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 4, No. 6. June 18, 1941

Book Review

page 3

Book Review

Penguin—"New Writing."

Most students are by now familiar with "New Writing" published by Allen Tone and edited by John Lehmann and have come to value its periodic appearance, therefore they will be pleased to find that the Penguin books have published a New Writing series consisting of selections of the best and most typical contributions from "New Writing" itself and also of new features specially written for Penguin Books by well-known writers. This new series is being published monthly and at present four numbers have reached New Zealand. The specially contributed articles for the Penguin Series are slightly too reminiscent of those written for the popular "Digest" magazines but Stephen Spender's [unclear: back] review is well worth reading. Cecil Day Lewis contributes a poem every month and although verse written with one eye on the calendar seems forced, these lines from Ode in Fear are well up to standard:—

"But oh, what drug, what knife
Can wither up our guilt at the root,
Cure our discoloured days and cleanse the blood of life?"

In "Where are the War Poets" he brings up the question as to why the poets, so articulate before the war, are now so silent:—

"It is the logic of our times,
No subject for immortal verse,
That we who fired by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worst."

Stephen Spender also discusses the writer's attitude at the present time. He says: "Loking back, it is impossible not to feel bitter shame and regret that we did not enter while there was still time, into our good causes with sufficient intensity. All must feel that if they had known the things which they see around them, with their whole being, as well as with their minds the world might now be different."

"New Writing in Europe,"

In addition to this monthly "New Writing" the Pelican Books have published "New Writing in Europe' by John Tehmenn, a book which at least every student of English should possess. This brief account of recent [unclear: tends] in English and European literature gives us an informative introduction to the works of the most interesting younger writers of to-day. To those who like to visualize their favourite poet, "New Writing in Europe" should have an additional appeal for there are photographs included of such writers as E. M. Forster, T. S. Eliot, John Cornford, and Auden and also of scenes from plays such as "The Ascent of F6" and "The Star Turns Red."

Although, students may not agree with all the evolutions of John Tehmenn, "New Writing in Europe" certainly supplies a need, long felt by those wishing to know more of the trend of writing abroad. What we want now is for the same thing to be done for American writers of today.