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Words and deeds, Helen Watson White

The Political Years
Marilyn Waring
Bridget Williams Books, $40.00,
ISBN 9781988545936

The cover of Marilyn Waring’s book The Political Years shows a telling photograph of the 1979 National Party caucus in the Beehive: row upon row of suited men, with just one young woman in front.

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Posted in Autobiography, Non-fiction, Review

A critical lamp in a dark world, Helen Watson White

Charles Brasch: Journals 1958-1973
Charles Brasch, selected by Peter Simpson
Otago University Press, $60.00,
ISBN 9781988531144 

“How many existences one leads at once,” wrote Dunedin poet, critic, patron and Landfall editor Charles Brasch in 1958: 

I am here with LF work & household chores … I am haunted by the state of the world – the Near East, nuclear tests, the fear of war; I live through Dr Zhivago & its world; Rodney’s & Douglas’s worlds & those of other friends, & Emily [Forsyth]’s, & the de Beers at Raasay now; & Andrew who has gone to Adelaide is with me constantly; & as I prepare to go to Chch tomorrow Pearl draws near, & Harry & Margaret (whose house at Clifton, 31 Tuawera Terrace, has at last been sold, to their immense relief, although it doesn’t pay off all their debts; & J[ames Bertram] will be in Chch at the weekend; Kate, Tim, Penny [Thompson]; & I must see Ruth France … the list goes on & on. And my own life winds through all these in its own way. 

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Posted in Non-fiction, Review

Peacetime at last, Helen Watson White

Astride a Fierce Wind
Huberta Hellendoorn
Submarine, $38.00,
ISBN 9780473395216

Writing in retirement in the small Dunedin apartment she shares with her husband Bart, Huberta Hellendoorn characteristically uses a domestic metaphor to describe her ever-changing experience:

The revolving dryer reminds me of my life, the moving and whirling of complicated situations, sometimes sudden, other times slow in reaching a climax. Tossed about by circumstances that could only be fully acknowledged by the passing of time and often hard work.

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

Christchurch circles and cliques, Helen Watson White

Bloomsbury South: The Arts in Christchurch 1933-1953 Peter Simpson Auckland University Press, $70.00, ISBN 9781869408480 When Christchurch poet and printer Denis Glover travelled to Britain in 1941 to serve in the Royal Navy, he left behind one literary circle and

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction, Review

At large and at small, Helen Watson White

In Her Hand: Letters of Romantic-Era British Women Writers in New Zealand Collections Otago Students of Letters Department of English, University of Otago, $22.00, ISBN 9780473249818 R A Lawson: Victorian Architect of Dunedin Norman Ledgerwood (Graham Warman photographs) Historic Cemeteries

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Posted in History, Letters, Non-fiction, Review

The one and the many, Helen Watson White

Urbanesia: Four Pasifika Plays Courtney Sina Meredith, Vela Manusaute, Victor Rodger, Oscar Kightley, David Fane, Nathaniel Lees Playmarket, $40.00, ISBN 9780908607433 Haruru Mai Briar Grace-Smith Strange Resting Places Paolo Rotondo and Rob Mokaraka Playmarket, $32.00, ISBN 9780908607440 In 2012, nearing

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Posted in Literature, Plays, Review

Realistic fictions, Helen Watson White

The Art of Peter Siddell Peter Siddell Godwit, $74.99, ISBN 9781869621872 In 1982, when Peter Siddell’s painting Urban Memory, 1982, was purchased by the Christchurch Art Gallery, no one could have dreamt how much value such an image might accrue

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction, Review

Still sacred lives, Helen Watson White

Red Studio: Forty-five Prints John Z Robinson Longacre Press, $39.99, ISBN 9781877460388 John Z Robinson is an artist in many media, and in two major modes. One is the ebullient use of colour in free-style painting; the other the witty,

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction, Review
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