Blog Archives

“Considerate autocrats”, Bill Sewell and Harry Ricketts

Editing Writers can get paranoid about editors. We know; we’re writers ourselves. Like many others, we’ve imagined editors to whom we’ve submitted work flicking through it in a spirit somewhere between malice and mischief. A number of masochistic scenarios spring…
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Posted in Opinion

Irony and automata, Bill Sewell

Husk Chris Price Auckland University Press, $21.95, ISBN 1869402669 I suppose it’s as true to say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its title as by its cover. Certainly, when it comes to some otherwise admirable collections of New…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Editorial – Issue 55

Enemies of promise   “Whom the gods wish to destroy they first call promising.” That was Cyril Connolly in 1938, warning of the dangers threatening writers of the time. More specifically, in his ground-breaking part-memoir, part-critical volume Enemies of Promise,…
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Posted in Editorial

Editorial – Issue 49

Two cheers for biography Biography doesn’t always get a good press. It has been Said to have “added a new terror to death”, while Oscar Wilde remarked that “[e]very great man nowadays has his disciples, and it is always Judas…
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Posted in Editorial

Editorial – Issue 54

Largesse for literature Over the last four-and-a-half years, New Zealand Books has kept a watching brief on the Government’s performance vis-à-vis the Arts. After Jenny Shipley became Prime Minister in 1997, we expressed the rather vain hope that she would…
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Posted in Editorial

Moments of invention, Bill Sewell

The Stepmother Tree James McNaughton Darius Press, $14.95, ISBN 0473078244 I don’t think there is such a thing as a “stepmother tree”.  My Shorter Oxford hasn’t heard of it anyway. But if a stepmother tree has never existed, then perhaps…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review

Editorial – Issue 53

“Impersonal sympathy” The Times Literary Supplement recently celebrated its centenary, and used the occasion to print two substantial essays – one by Ferdinand Mount, its current editor, the other by Stefan Collini – on its history, editorial policy, style, and…
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Posted in Editorial

Editorial – Issue 52

A large variety of all the same?   The late Allen Curnow was fond of quoting Yeats’s dictum that the real test of poets lies in how they deal with sex and death. Perhaps not surprisingly, both subjects loom memorably…
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Posted in Editorial

Objects in a landscape, Bill Sewell

The Art of Grahame Sydney Grahame Sydney and contributors Longacre Press, $99.95, ISBN 1 877135 31 3 The Central Otago I know does not figure much in Grahame Sydney’s art. The particular area I remember best is the Strath Taieri,…
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Posted in Art, Non-fiction, Review

Erebus in the frame, Lydia Wevers

Erebus: a poem Bill Sewell Hazard Press, $21.95, ISBN 1 877161 46 2 Is Erebus one of those events like Gallipoli, a bloodied trench, an oil stain in the white wastes of our forgetting? Like most people I remember where…
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Posted in Literature, Poetry, Review
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