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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 9. June 5, 1952

A Poet Writes

A Poet Writes


I am intrigued by E. H. Bel." fords letter in Salient defending his review of a poetry reading in the "Evening Post." The "Evening Post." like most of our culturally inert press, lends the blanket of anonymity to a reviewer at such times, and it is quite beyond me why anyone should want to claim authorship of the review in question. That this young man does so suggests such inordinate pride in his work that it is best not left unchallenged.

Mr. Belford is not a critic, but a poor reviewer. By any standard of aesthetic judgment he is simply unqualified to assess an art work, and those opinions which he puts to paper as criticisms are scarcely worth uttering.

You may be interested to learn that several of the poets concerned with the reading reviewed by Mr. Belford met together to discuss the advisability of protesting against his review to his editor. It was decided to let the infontile review go unchallenged; but the proud claim of authorship made in Salient should be taken up. Though I have not seen your H's comment. I would thank him for any corrections made to the "Post" review.

Both in his letter and in his review. Mr. Belford refers to Edmund Spenser as Spencer. Bad Journalism.

Then makes odd points about the "locals" holding their own with him and Shakespeare if "they go in for a few more local touches." The question is scarcely any longer whether or not Mr. Belford is right but how much longer is our "responsible" Press going to pass off this sort of thing as criticism or even as reviewing?

Mr. Belford has no right whatsoever to assume that the poetry readings are put on for "a theatre audience." or that, since this is an attempt to get people to hear poetry, that the poets are perversely out of touch with society. Mr. Belford is only speaking for himself. Mr. Belrord makes a further plea for poems written from "Aral hand experience." What does he think that he is getting? Once again, all that he can say is "this is not my experience."

His most breathtaking touch though, is surely the comment that Salient's reviewer could do better with the space given him! Mr. Belford could hardly do worse with his own make!

Having been subjected to this kind of thing many times myself, and having known others to be equally riled by the pinpricking Press, may I claim this as one of those privileged, critical moments on which I can cover my face and remain merely

One of the Poets.