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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 8. April 30 1968

Alan Roddick: Damning and daring

Alan Roddick: Damning and daring

The Eye Corrects. Poems by Alan Roddick. Blackwood & Janet Paul, Auckland 1967. Price $1.25. Reviewed by Jan Walker.

Alan Roddick damns his own poetry by his blurb on the back cover. "I rarely find writing a poem an enjoyable experience, and I write only when I have to. Not when I have something to write about, but rather when I have to write something".

Unfortunately he does exactly as he says and writes 'something' which rarely turns out to be a successful poem. He has odd successful lines where he achieves stinging orgininality and beauty, but generally his work is clumsy and unpolished.

His poems suffer from a self-conscious artificially and become more an intellectual exercise than the expression of feeling. For example his poem "The Shell" begins and in "Baby with Ball" his analogy of the world becomes uncomfortably blatant.

"Stand in the doorway of the shell: note
the spiral turret, built to hear
the emerald anger of the marching storm
Note too the tunnel, contrapuntal
rhythmn in amber light"

His poem "A Patient", which is a description of a dental extraction probably springs from his genuine affection for his profession, but between the extraction and the recording the spontaneity dies, and the poem fails to excite.

Alan Rodick is a poet of good intention. He attempts, as he states, to throw new light on the everyday world and in part succeeds although his poems do not yet claim a distinctive style nor freedom from a forced construction.