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

Canterbury Lambs

Canterbury Lambs

Canterbury Lambs Number 2 (published by the CUC Literary Club. August, 1947) is chiefly interesting for one short story written by Bill Pearson about an experience in Japan. This story is striking because of its really accurate observation: "'Hubba, hubba,' he yelled at the Nips and they moved away, stood again at a respectful distance as if to run would be to recognise dishonourable ill-will in the sergeant." This intelligence and sensitivity vanishes temporarily when the writer, obviously from lack of experience, adds fortuitous facts to the picture, feeling that they "ought" to be mentioned: "three hours to go, back to the sack for four hours, then up again," in a summing up of life in the barracks. It would be pleasanter if the writer only said what he liked to say and did not feel this duty of completeness.

The other stories are all about Maoris. They are not the result or temporary identification of the writers with the Maori psyche, or ideology, not even of true familiarity, but of observation. The authors found it obviously pleasanter to notice [unclear: culiarities] of the Maoris, who are after all different and whose differences from the whites are manifest, than to write about the apparently less colourful scene in their own environment. In all of the three cases the observation is genuine, and what is lacking is rather the sensitive selection of detail in the Japanese story.

Furthermore there is an essay by D. M. Anderson discussing the phenomenon or poetry written after man's "Fourth Decade." This essay is not unusual in quality: it seems to accept without much scrutiny what Mr. Auden thinks about the "insufficiency of the dream world," which is supposed to become obvious in the "fourth decade" and drive men to religion. But this doubt about the world of poetry is a quite distinctive feature of Mr. Auden and some of his generation, at all periods of their creative productiveness. Mr. Anderson blurs the significance of these individual and period differences; this blur seems to present Mm coming to any conclusion or thesis. To show the problem in Eliot, he selects a line quoted from Dante in the Waste Land. However, Mr. Anderson discovered a question where there is one; he quotes a wide range of authors in whom his problem manifests itself, and generally to the point. I should say we have few people at Victoria with this amount of under-standing.

The poems, in as far as they are written In Canterbury, are not remarkable. Poetic precision is only reached by W. H. Oliver, and a pleasing idea, by Pat Wilson, both from Victoria.