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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 14, No. 13. October 4, 1951

Study First

Study First

The dialectal subtleties of most modern poets cannot be appreciated from a first reading, and so the most the audience receives is a hazy impression of a series of words, the only connection between them being a vague emotional haze. This could be remedied in two ways. Firstly, the titles of the poems to be read could be advertised beforehand, so that the really interested people could study them in preparation to hearing them read by people who should be masters of the art of reading poetry; and secondly, by limiting the poems read to those which have simple syntax, e.g. poems by Ogden Nash. C. D. Lewis, or some by Auden, and poems that in one aspect at least are immediately clear to the listener. These two things are highly desirable and would be very advantageous to those people who wish to gain, the most from the poetry-readings. Perhaps it is too much to expect even an intelligent audience to prepare themselves for the reading, but I think that a complex poem like Dylan Thomas' "A refusal to Mourn the Death . . ." would have left a much greater impression than it did on the audience after some preliminary study.