Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 10, No. 13. September 24, 1947

Literary Society Broadsheet Reviewed

Literary Society Broadsheet Reviewed

The second issue of the Literary Society Broadsheet contains an editorial, three poems and an article.

The first is a discussion of Landfall Two and Book Nine, both by the Caxton Press. Landfall seems more concerned with "the mysterious 'we' who are to make culture" than Book Nine with its "less purposive approach."

This excellent comparison might have been carried still further by a comparison of Curnow's verse with Glover's. If you read Glover's "The Road Builders" you might be impressed by the unselfconscious poetry that is dignified without being snobbish, intelligent without being abstract, and intelligible without being tawdry. I agree with the editorial when it states Australian writers worry more about which way they are going than what they're doing on the way. They should realise in fact that everyone else is going in several cultural directions at some considerable speed and that if all the writers in New Zealand were killed tomorrow, some kinds of culture would go on without them. After all, some people in NZ go to the pictures, listen to the radio and talk about things that interest them. It's time NZ writers ceased their abstract, self-analytical, mental meanderings, their condescending, self-conscious, imitations of colloquialisms and began to write what they feel in clear bold and unashamed terms.

and the poems

The poem "Partial Eclipse" by W.H.O., might have been published in Landfall. It is a typical compound or technical competence, "beauty in words" and insufficiency of purpose. It is one of those tantalising poems which promise you with fine language and leave you with nothing else. It's like swallowing an Adexolin pill without even the bitterness of the oil when you get to the middle.

The next two poems are by G.E.A.W. The first descends through several stanzas from August rushing through the gardens to an invocation to an unspecified deity to

"Grant, that I may reach, intact, my ultimate
Objective, let me serve the whole but still remain
A unit in the multitude."

If the poem had ended at the previous stanza it would have been satisfactory and, except in minor points, a reasonable attempt in quite a complex verse form. I like his second poem which includes two very good stanzas giving the poem a conclusive punch so often lacking in young poets.

"No, I have won this season, beaten
Off assailants for a time, eaten
The barnacles of custom from
My body. So assurances
Guide my face, unite my feet, and

My old foes wait in vain, eke out
Their vigil for a final season, doubt
My reason. Walking a ridge of cloud,
Escaped from them, I touch the sky
And a myriad old stars shout."

The article is about Ursula Bethell. It discusses in two short pages the relation of Nature and Religion in her poetry. It is succinct and aptly illustrated with quotations that are not merely there to show how much the writer has read, but in-order to point an assertion. I am willing to dispute that "at no time do we feel that her intense delight in nature relegates religion to a secondary place in her mind." I can quote as example her poem "The Long Harbour," which is a neat integration of contemplataion of nature with the corollary association of the people who have interacted with it. The poem's subtle form and inventive language hold no hint of the religious thought discussed by D.J.B.