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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 6. 1969.

Literary page

Literary page

I Felt obliged to send you this after reading Mr. Pasley's little offering in the Salients. Let me assure you you have not put Me off, the literary pages of Salient are about the least off-putting literary outlet that I know.

Mr. Pasley must be a member of the New Zealand literary set, judging both from what he says and the way he says it. He complains that he has not heard of you—well, God protect us both, he won't have heard of me either (Rhys Pasley . . . Pasley? . . . I dunno).

At least you have recognised that students didn't invent poetry. You don't have to be a student of English to know that literature has a tradition, the work of a lot of peculiar old folk, for some thousands of years, and remarkably, they seem to have known what they were doing. But these days they don't relate, or something. The literary set suffer from a galloping self-consciousness — they are Contemporary, New Zealand Poets, which seems to impose a certain style, and attitude which would deny the existence of any poetry older than T. S. Eliot.

Mr. P. is happier when he can cell you an academic, it puts him on familiar ground. Fair enough, I know what he is getting at, but it's a shame for his sake that vou really don't SOUND like an academic. You sound to me like someone making an honest attempt to put a READABLE literary page in a scruffy little student paper.

It is no use insisting here that art be always spelt with a capital "A". All you can expect of a young student poet—by any standard a rank amateur—is an attempt to write genuinely about what he knows — death, man's soul, the purpose of life and so on (and So on?). These I really have to think about for a few minutes.

I'm not really surprised someone like Mr. Pasley does not like the literary page. Well, let him go, then, where it's at, and read Argot, or Frontiers, if he can. I believe vou will get a more honest response on your page than any of the fashionable outfits ever will.

So please accept the enclosed poem as a vote of confidence. I don't know how good it is, and its origins may be obvious to some people, but if it is trash I don't expect you will publish it. Any comment would be of interes'.

Grant Thompson.