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

—verse reviewed

verse reviewed

Dear Sir,—You call for critical comments on the recent literary efforts that have appeared in your pages. I certainly have some remarks to make concerning the verse.

Possibly the editor's intentions were good; possibly the poets were inspired; I am willing to grant the former, I refuse to concede the latter; and I am sure of my ground, having studied the work of contemporary poets as a hobby for a number of years.

Taking the poems in the order of appearance, let us consider the effort of "Davenport." Possibly this gentleman has been influenced by T. S. Eliot. I do not deny him the right to imitate any more than I should deny a monkey the right to mimic a human being. But at least the inane actions or the monkey are recognised for what they are, and not considered "artistic." In the field of physical activity people's sense of what constitutes idiocy seems to be developed to a high degree, but in the field of art any puerility in words can be accepted as fine writing. This "poem" is a case in point. If "Davenport" actually took himself seriously, when he wrote this piece of unmitigated drivel, I can only say that he has found his way into the wrong institution. Its lack of unity, its purposeless contradictions and discordant mixing of images, its incoherence and lack of sincerity are condemnation enough in themselves; it is, in short, a worthless, meaningless botch.

The same comments apply to the brain-child of "Searos," although the poverty of this piece is to a certain extent alleviated by the "piling-up" of short words and masculine rhymes, and the not inappropriate use of onomatopoetic words and phrases.

"Poor fool," etc., by Miss (?) Aylesbury calls for a special comment; this cannot be criticised as a poem, for it is very clearly not one, even in the sense that the two previously dealt with samples can be considered as poems. Quite evidently the author has written down separate lines having no connection one with the other; the result is a mess. The quoted lines in the middle have been, apparently, lifted; they have no connection with the other lines, some of which I seem to recall, incidentally, although I cannot say off-hand where I have seen them. So much for "Poor fool . . ." Poor fool is he who takes this sort of garbage seriously.

As for the "Lines from an Unfinished Elegy," those who read this critique may go to the trouble of ploughing through Ruskin until they find the sentence which J. Kinross has broken up into vers libre. It is remarkable that this has so far escaped the notice of other litterati.

I intend to deal with the poems in the sixth issue in another letter.—I am, etc.,

"Saddened Critic."