Blog Archives

An account of trauma, Michael Hulse

Allen Curnow: Collected Poems
Elizabeth Caffin and Terry Sturm (eds)
Auckland University Press, $60.00,
ISBN 9781869408510

Allen Curnow’s poetry is a transcript of trauma. “Morning by morning incorruption / Puts on corruption”: this most fundamental of thoughts, borne in upon every one of us as the time of our lives moves from childhood to what we call understanding, and onward, is not Curnow’s alone. The experiences of mutability, transience, and destruction, are universal. “A child returned / Discerns in quicksand his own footprint / Brimming and fading, vanishing.” The evidence that whatever begins in joy, hope and openness is swept away in the indifferent whirlwind lies before us everywhere. Time with a gift of tears. 

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Poem – Allen Curnow

A Raised Voice Let it be Sunday and the alp-high summer gale gusting to fifty miles. Windmills groan in disbelief, the giant in the pulpit enjoys his own credible scale, stands twelve feet ‘clothed in fine linen’ visibly white from

See more ›

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Poem

Consecrating Curnow, Simon During

Allen Curnow: Simply by Sailing in a New Direction
Terry Sturm (Linda Cassells (ed))
Auckland University Press, $70.00,
ISBN 9781869408527,

Allen Curnow’s first book, Valley of Decision, appeared as a “Phoenix Miscellany” under the Auckland University College Students’ Association Press imprint when he was very young, just 22. But Curnow’s abiding concerns were already in place.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Biography, Literature, Non-fiction, Review

Wit and moral clarity, Hugh Roberts

Whim Wham’s New Zealand: The Best of Whim Wham 1937-1988 Terry Sturm (ed) Vintage, $34.99, ISBN 1869417577   It is by now no secret that Allen Curnow, a man with few rivals for the title of “New Zealand’s Greatest Poet”,

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Obiturary — Allen Curnow

Allen Curnow (1911-2001)   When did a wind of the extreme South before Mix autumn, spring and death? (“Elegy on My Father”, Allen Curnow, 1949) I cannot remember when I first encountered Allen Curnow’s poetry. It seems to have been

See more ›

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Obituaries

Not tolling for me, Heather Murray

The Bells of Saint Babel’s: Poems 1997-2001 Allen Curnow Auckland University Press, $19.95, ISBN 1869402421 They have all gone into the dark: the fellow poets of his youth and middle age, the critics, the early shapers and gatekeepers of New

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Tolling on, James Brown

The Bells of Saint Babel’s: Poems 1997-2001 Allen Curnow Auckland University Press, $19.95, ISBN 1869402421 There is much to admire in Curnow’s first completely new book since The Loop in Lone Kauri Road (1986). To the fore is his great technical

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Looping de Loop in Lone Kauri road, Ken Arvidson

Early Days Yet: New and Collected Poems 1941-1997 Allen Curnow Auckland University Press, $34.95, ISBN 1 86940 162 X On the cover a reproduction of Colin McCahon’s 1965 painting Floodgate conveys ideas of power, compression and explosive force. At the point

See more ›

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Accurate misquotation – a blast from the present, Hugh Roberts

An appreciation of Allen Curnow Imagine you left New Zealand near the end of the 1960s. You lived overseas and, predictably, grew out of touch with the New Zealand literary scene. You return in 1996 and decide to attend the

See more ›

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Comment, Poetry

To make the world intelligible, Max Anderson

Selected Poems 1940-1989 Allen Curnow Viking hardback, $49.95 (Penguin paperback, Auckland, 1990, $27.95) When Allen Curnow published Continuum, his collected poems 1972-1988, he organized the book back-to-front: most recent poems at the beginning, earliest at the end. The selection, a career summary

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review
Search by category
Recent issues: subscriber-only access

Subscribe to NZ Books to access the issues above