Blog Archives

The endurance of Sappho, Alan Loney

Alan Loney records his long-lasting admiration for the lute-playing poet. The persistence of the ancient Greek poet Sappho (c630-570 BC) in the literary imagination of the West is one of the most remarkable aspects of the poetic tradition. While many

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In the beginning, Peter Russell

Peter Russell looks at his childhood reading through the eyes of Ovid. At the time when the story opens, a little boy named Maui … was playing on the sea-shore. He was so happy, picking up shells and watching the

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At home in Hobbiton and Boy Land, Gavin Bishop

Gavin Bishop leafs through two boyhood favourites.  The three of us are about the same age – my first picture book, my teddy bear and me. The book lies, or should I say languishes, coddled in tissue and plastic to

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Beautiful and organic, Christine Johnston

Dunedin writer Christine Johnston rediscovers the still-growing pleasures of Tom’s Midnight Garden. I would have borrowed a copy of Tom’s Midnight Garden from Dunedin Children’s Library, which in those days was located in two of the terraced houses in Stuart

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Poetic hair, C K Stead

C K Stead recalls encountering Rupert Brooke’s The Complete Poems. During WWII my sister Norma, two and a half years my senior, acquired a “pen-friend” in Rugby, England. I don’t recall the friend’s name, but we sent her family food

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Enter a messenger, David Hill

Our English teacher in form five was a nice, ineffectual guy. He stuttered, so in typically compassionate boys’ school style, we called him “Static”. His discipline was pretty tenuous; some of the second-year fifth formers (this was the 1950s: score

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Christmas list

  New Zealand Books reviewers choose which book they’d most like to see in their Christmas stocking and why. Owen Marshall: The Journals of John Cheever, unfortunately out of print; a wonderfully candid and elegant insight into the life of

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Swamp thing, Elizabeth Smither

Elizabeth Smither seeks out A Girl of the Limberlost. I can still remember my fear of the swamp. Was it because of The Hound of the Baskervilles? But A Girl of the Limberlost held a deeper kind of fear when

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Escape from Warsaw, John McIntyre

Waimea College Library, Richmond, 1965. I was no great visitor to libraries prior to this, an era when children’s literature was more worthy than enticing, but it was to become my sanctuary for my first unconfident year of secondary school

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What minds make, Nelson Wattie

Beyond Wittgenstein’s Poker: New Light on Popper and Wittgenstein Peter Munz Ashgate Publishing Limited, $62.00, ISBN 0754640159 Working at the interface between literature and science, Gillian Beer recently asked in The Guardian: “How do you have new ideas? Language is

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