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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 8. June 13, 1957

Fairburn Aloud

Fairburn Aloud

"Although this has been, in a sense, a memorial gathering, it has hardly been solemn. But Fairburn was not a very solemn person. Anyway, we have proved that Wellington can appreciate a great New Zealander—even if he is an Aucklander."

With these words. Aucklander James Bertram closed a reading from the works of the late A R D. Fairburn at the Library Lecture Hall on Friday evening. 24th May.

It was a memorable evening.

James K. Baxter has a beautiful voice, but it is no carping criticism to say that his intoning style of reading verse docs not seem to help the audience grasp the meaning of what he is reading. His contribution to the evening did, however, include some of Fairburn's finest lyrical verse, notably "Elements".

Louis Johnson described as " the loveliest love poem ever written by a New Zealander" the little gem "Age will unfasten us," and he read it most movingly.

A. R. D. Fairburn Fund

This fund has been opened so that the friends of Rex Fairburn and those many others who feel that both as a poet and a man he enriched their lives, can express their gratitude and regard for him. All proceeds will go to his wife and family. Please send them to c/o F. H. Haigh. Solicitor. Box 119. Auckland.

"Our world will end when you,
the lovely husk of love, lie still at length
on the cold bed, and I.
my limbs stained through and through
with your beauty's blood, powereless beside you, lie.

Though lacking Baxter's initial advantage as to voice; Johnson's reading style is most expressive. He also delighted the audience with "Rhyme for a Dead Self and Tom's A'Cold".

One humorous highlight of the evening was Anton Vogt's rendition of the famous parody on a speech by the late M. J. Savage—The Sky is a Limpet" (—"onwards and uppinesh into a void hurting money body . . . Now then:") and a selection of pithy epigrams. Vogt also gave us "La Belle Dame Sans Merer, a biting comment on certain manifestations of the New Zealand way of life, especially the suburban attitude to capital punishment.

Maria Dronke read some more lovely lyrics in her equally lovely voice and pleasing style. ("It is indeed a pleasure to hear good verse well read," commented Mr. Bertram afterwards.) Notable items were "Well Known and Well Loved (The moments of our love are flakes of dream—falling on a snow-scene in a fairy-tale"), "Wild Love", and 'Sons at Summer's End."

A Fairburn Bibliography

He Shall Not Rise: poems. London, Columbia Press. 1930.

Dominioes and other poems: Christchurch. The Caxton Press. 1938

The Sky is a Limpet (a pollytickle [unclear: parrotty]) also four (4) stories or moral feebles. Auckland, Phillips Press. 1939 This [unclear: phamphlet] is already a minor classic and collectors items. Printed at one of Lowry's early presses It could be described as an [unclear: apiglottal] imitation of the platitudinous [unclear: speeches] of a late politician.

Poems 1929-1941. Christchurch. The Caxton Press. 1943.

Hands of the Tom Tom. Wellington Progressive Publishing Society, 1949 (A countercuff to various pestilent bellowings of a Blimpish South Island headmaster.)

We New Zealanders; an informal [unclear: esaay]. Progressive Publishing Society. 1944 (In this essay he takes a good [unclear: hard] look at the ferret-like soul, and the pumice-grey way of lige of the New Zealander.)

How to ride a bicycle; in seventeen lovely colours. Auckland. The [unclear: Pelors] Press. 1946. (A high-spirited piece of typograhic spoofing.)

The Rakehelly Man. Christchurch. [unclear: Cavton] Press. 1946. A sort of a masterpiece.

Strange Rendezvous, poems. 1929-1941 with additions. Caxton Press. 1952

Three poems. Dominion. The Voyage and To a friend in The [unclear: Wilderness] Wellington N.Z. University Press 1952.

The last reader, Denis Glover, the only one who could be [unclear: described] having been himself one of the Fan burn Generation, ended the evening on a hilarious note with some unpublished Fairburn verse (especially "American tourist At Wakarerwarewa) and to crown all, "The Rakehelly Man"

"He lolloped through the meadows
Upon his great black horse,
A-seeking in his madness
A maiden he could force."

After that, the Chairman could no longer be entirely serious even about his earlier suggestion that New Zealand literary and cultural figures should receive public recognition more, frequently than they do—and was carried away at the thought of R.A.K Mason with an O.B.E.—B.

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