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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 8, No. 7. June 13, 1945

New Writing No: 4

New Writing No: 4

My general impression of No. 4 was that its standard falls below even that of its predecessors, although one or two pieces seemed almost equal to the best that has been produced so far. No. 4 contains verse from seven contributors, and eight essays and short stories. The verse is extremely uneven in quality. That inspired by the war, e.g., K. J. Hollyman's "Five Poems from a Pacific Campaign," was for the most part commonplace in thought and imagery. F. Alexa Steven's "A Greek Soldier Thinks of His Child" showed some intensity and fineness of feeling marred by uncontrolled expression. Best of them was J. R. Hervey's "Unreported." Of the verse as a whole, "English Liturgy," by Marion Hope, reached the highest level. Into a single quatrain was packed profound meaning expressed in imagery of a high poetic order.

The prose was on the whole better than the verse. Again those dealing with the war, e.g., W. H. Pearson's "Taralala; from a Fijian Diary," fell slightly short of the rest The best effort, in the humble opinion of the reviewer, was Professor Robertson's "Odyssey in Wellington Harbour." "Tidings of Joy," by A. P. Gaskell, and "The Will and Mr. Wilkins," by H. C. D. Somerset, were also good. The thesis that some N.Z. writers are romanticising and "generating a false nostalgia," sincerely felt by the early settlers, was advanced by R. Seymour in a short essay on "A Recent Tendency in New Zealand Literature." He is not explicit, however, as to what is the "vein of good metal" which the writers he criticises so lamentably ignore.