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The Spike or Victoria College Review October 1929

"The Old Clay Patch"

"The Old Clay Patch"

Dear Spike,

In an idle moment the other day, while searching for something of the Edgar Wallace touch to pass the time with, I came across my copy of "The Old Clay Patch," and I sat down and there and then read it through.

Apart from the excellence of the book as an anthology of College Verse, there is much in the book of a really fine order, and several of the pieces appearing over the initials of Seaforth Mackenzie could hold a place in any company.

I note that the first edition was brought out in 1910, and was followed by a later edition in 1920. Next year is 1930, and I wonder whether we shall see a third edition. I have perused the pages of "Spike" from 1926 onwards and there are not more than twenty poems there that deserve the immortality which is conferred on them by their inclusion in the "Old Clay Patch."

The fact is that the last five years have given us but little in the way of really good verse. The cream of the numbers of "Spike" for those years are very good, but very few.

This may be attributed, no doubt, to the fact that 1929 has seen the first Extravaganza for several years. The Extravaganza no doubt led to extensive verse-production in its bygone years, and "The Old Clay Patch" benefited in consequence.

Now that we have revived the Extravaganza, and with a record-breaking effort at that, we may look forward to seeing much more and much better verse written in the pages of "Spike."

Owing to the apathetic attitude which is shown by the students as a whole to the traditions of their College, the Executive have a considerable page 33 number of copies of the last edition of the "Old Clay Patch" still unsold. No doubt this is due also in no small measure to the fact that, apart from the Christian Union Handbook given to freshers at the commencement of the session, the Executive do not even mention, let alone advertise, the "Old Clay Patch" in any of the College organs. (It is mentioned in the Annual Balance-Sheet, but then no one reads, or is expected to read, that).

The result of this deplorable apathy will prove to be that no third edition of the work under discussion will be issued next year. It is time there are few pieces which have appeared in "Spike," which are entitled to inclusion, but the few which are of merit deserve to be preserved.

Furthermore, the verses written for the 1929 Extravaganza are almost as good as the Bab Ballads, and should certainly be given immortality.

I insist, Sir, that if the question of a third edition is discussed, that the question of whether it will pay will receive secondary consideration to the question of immortalizing the few outstanding literary efforts of the last five years.

—I am, etc.,