Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 1. 1969.
I Suppose apart from the regretable fact of returning to the scene when everyone thought that it might have breathed its last, Argot has not committed any very severe breaches of propriety. Unfortunately.
I was quite diligent about reading the review copy, marking the margins, underlining good lines, etc but the total affect was to feel that while this was a better than average collection of predominantly student verse it showed the same weaknesses that cause me to indulge in angry and unlikeable sneering.
Most of the poems seemed just too "gimmicky", as if the writers were unwilling to admit that they were not prepared to sit down and grapple with the problems of language and sweat until they found a viable way of expression.
For 'example "Hyde Park" by one "Tom Smucker"might just as well be told in prose rather than fool around with the fancy line arrangement I admit a certain erotic and personal vividness of expression that shows sensitivity and talent but it could be channelled more effectively.
I enjoyed "Stone Tablets" but thought that the poem could have been more directly cvocative and I was most dissatisfied when it became too general, A particular image that I delighted in was almost accidental in the last three lines
Now there is not even a child bouquet of wayside remembrnce to reign above their lichened stones.
This very simple image could relate to the poem better but it is an example of evocativencss that student ports could do well to emulate.
'The End of Wolves" was unconvincing but most praticularly at the end where there was an inability to give any final whole-ness to the poem.
Both of Dennis List's poems were superbly evocative and despondently unmeaningful. He would do well to see if he could be both evocative and yet retain some semblance of reality.
On the other hand "A Song About Her" was so simple and. in some ways, the most uninspiring thing, in the collection but it spoke of the concrete and familiar, it tried to distil a particular experience into the familiar and yet evasive form of a rhyming pattern. It begins to make sense but needs a lot of polish.
Of the longer articles, the short story by Gordon Chains and the article by Max Kerr there is not all that much to be said.
"Dream Sequence" is a sensitive piece of writing with a deficiency in its sketehy quality and a sense of unsureness in its style which in some points becomes a little gauche. Despite this there are some beautiful and perceptive ideas that Cordon Challis follows through up to a point where the reader is interested in having this elaborated and then, alas! the story stops.
Max Kerr's timely review of David Karp's novels delighted me and held my interest from start to finish. The subject matter deals essentially with the relationship between the ! individual and society According to Kerr, all of Karp's novels come out distinctly with the view that man's first allegiance is to himself. This is a statement that is rather insidious from my point of view because it's a half-truth unless man is seen as been something more than one tittle thing in the comes. However the whole article is informative and stimulating.
To summarise the total impact of Argot I would Say that is was "good Stuff", Sure. the poetry may be open to objections but that doesn't matter, no one can expect a student magazine to contain gems on every page and the overall standard is high, In fact it is very encouraging to sec here as in a few other instances a positive sign of a resolute attempt to get some life into the literary on the campus. It is essential that students write and think creatively for this is one of the best ways to open to effective communication on a good many levels.