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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 6. April 24, 1952

A Critic Answers Back

A Critic Answers Back


Being a stupid, childish, pretentious, completely baffled reporter, I'm naturally hesitant to write to a university student publication. My temerity in doing so, frankly appals me. Yet I have to make some pitiful effort to defend myself against the clever, subtle, objective criticisms with which "H," in last week's issue, attacks my recent review of a poetry reading.

I fail at the outset, I know. "H" was so clever as to misquote me on the one score he takes objection to he was so subtle as to attribute me with a high regard for a third rate poet, and he was so objective as to avoid making any specific criticism of my review.

Seriously, cannot "Salient" achieve a higher standard of criticism in its columns? For instance, in writing of a poetry reading, I offered the criticism that "from an entertainment viewpoint, the home artists would hold their own better (with Spencer, Shakespeare, etc.) if they went in for a few more local and topical touches."

Please note (1) that I was talking about entertainment for a theatre audience, which poetry readings try to achieve, and (2) that "local and topical touches" need not be references to our birds and our streets, but rather to our way of living, a not unimportant item with maybe a few aspects to it, not all of them general aspects, but all of them at least "in touch" with the people.

However, I'm not adamant about this. Our poets may soon be able to match their work even with Milton at poetry readings and beat him at his own game. As stated in the review, there is nothing wrong with their trying, "excepting that an audience is more likely to be interested in things of first-hand knowledge."

Incidentally, "H" (whoever he is) makes a fair job of reviewing the poetry reading, although he could have made better use of the considerable space allowed him.

E. H. Belford.