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

Potty poetry

Potty poetry

With reference to the poetry which I quoted in Salient 2:

Sam Hunt's poem "A Song About Her" should have been divided into five stanzas of four lines and the third line of the poem should have read : "kicked my pillows out of bed".

In Dennis List's "The Camels Are Coming" the fifth line should have read "the wild profustion of Arabia".

Michael Neill's poem, reprinted in Salient 4 from Argot Broadsheet, should have been titled "Crows in December".

I would be grateful if more care could be given to proof reading in future issues.

Further, in the same issue of Salient, Trevor James described one of Dennis List's poems as "superbly said" (with which description I don't altogether agree—it's not bad, but no more) and then wondered whether or not it was "significant" or has meaning"? Does it matter? Trevor confessed that "the poem by Dennis List I cannot really understand". It may be that it's "meaning" is suggested, and that one cannot satisfactorily define what it is that is suggested.

In the same article Trevor wondered whether Peter Bland's "Train Home" is a poem at all. Can he suggest any criteria by which we might determine whether or not it is a poem? He may agree that some attempt at definition is called for if he is prepared to suggest that he can exclude some pieces of writing from a definition of "poetry". If he is prepared to tackle this problem he might in the process, eliminate such nonsense as this :

For example "Hyde Park", by one "Tom Smucker", might just as well be told in prose rather than fool around with the fancy line arrangement" (from Salient 1).

And, with reference to "Train Home", "the same thing (moral) idea could probably be said just as well in a sketch for a story rather than to attempt a poem at that level of style" (from Salient 4).

David Harcourt.