Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 1. March 1, 1946
I seem to remember the reviewer of "Spike, 1944" regretting that its material was derivative and parochial. He found it emasculated and a little precious after the lively breadth of earlier "Spikes." This year's publication should make him happy. If "Spike 1944" was an elegant monotone, "Spike 1945" is variegated and diverse. The writing is not uniformly smooth, but it has vigour.
"Spike 1945" is large and the advertisements are therefore many and intricate. The cover design by Russell Clark is striking, the printing unpretentious but pleasing (except for the unfortunate transposition of endings in two stories).
It is difficult to criticise the prose en masse because of its diversity. The creative fiction is probably the weakest section. I think that Maybe the Army has the most conviction. The form is unobtrusive and the tautness of a mind in conflict is maintained. There are no Neutrals in Hell has its moments of true intensity but the deliberate marshalling of brusque phrases becomes almost maddening in its determination to be significant. Chez Griffier is efficiently written but gives the effect of an episode rendered static by an over-descriptive presentation. The critical prose is good. Sophistry III, The refugees and us, Physics and reality, the excellent article on documentary films, even the frivolous classification of screen monsters—all show a conviction that the University cannot be an "island of culture," but must take part in the physical and intellectual life of the community. Then there are the appreciations of professors whom Victoria is losing and of students whom it has lost, an article on the Stud. Ass. building and copious club notes. These add little to the literary value of "Spike 1945" but do make it a cohesive student production.
Prof. Gordon was pleased to have difficulty in finding a bad poem. Unofficial judges have been equally pleased with the absence of affected obscurity. The poems have form, and, I am happy to say, are not laboriously Stark. Pat Wilson's work is packed with swift oblique images. W.E.S. has pointed tonic clarity and W. H. Oliver uses a finely-shaped vocabulary, though his technique is a bit spasmodic.
So "Spike 1945" seems a pretty satisfactory production. It is not blase and escapes immaturity by being young and vigorous. What there lacks in subtlety is made up in good sense.