"For all who know understand and love
the land especially whose lives are spent upon our farms and stations"
Mrs A.E. Woodhouse, 1950
Its incredible the number of poems that have been written on the area especially the Mackenzie. "It is not surprising that a landscape which comes in through the windows should attract poets." Poetry has an important place in discovering New Zealand's cultural history as many poems depict life from a by gone era. Verse flowed in the newspapers until the 1930s often hidden under a nom-de-plume or initials e.g. Tim A. Ru, Geraldine Hill (probably Caroline Hardcastle) as this spared embarrassment for the writer if the work did not catch on and he / she could be frank or playful about the topic. Verses by 'Whim Wham' appeared in The Press, Christchurch every Saturday in the 1930s. Frances Ellen Talbot (c.1851-1923) m. District Judge Charles Dudley Robert Ward in 1902, her nom de plume was a man's name Thorpe Talbot. The Waimate Advertiser had a poetry column on the front page from mid April 1900. It is thanks to early newspaper editors, Mrs A. E. Woodhouse, Elsie Locke and other local historians that we have such a range of verse available today. Mrs Woodhouse went around in the 1940s collecting verse and bush balladry many had only been recited and never before written down except maybe on a door of a musters hut or on a wall in a woolshed. If you know the names of any other South Canterbury related poetry please let me know. Email
Some poems are found in more than one published book. Many of the poems are not specific to any South
Canterbury area but cover topics such as shearing, tailing, dipping, mustering
Mackenzie Country - Upper Waitaki | south of Timaru | Levels - Point - Temuka | Fairlie | Timaru | Geraldine
|Poem||Author of Poem||Book||Page|
|The Shearer's Dream||Mick Laracy||High Endeavour||109|
|Requiem||Alistair Mackintosh||High Endeavour||110|
|The Godley Ghost||Ernie Slow||High Endeavour||112|
[not Ernie Slow as the booklet reads.]
|Discovering the Legends of the Mackenzie, Mt Cook Country||26|
|The Godley Ghost||Ernie Slow||Discovering the Legends of the Mackenzie, Mt Cook Country with cartoon the horse going through the hut||31|
|Exile||Alistair Mackintosh 1942||Discovering the Legends of the Mackenzie, Mt Cook Country||57|
|The Mackenzie Country||Alistair Mackintosh||Discovering the Legends of the Mackenzie, Mt Cook Country||5|
|Autumn on the Kimbell Road||Alistair Mackintosh 1942||Discovering the Legends of the Mackenzie, Mt Cook Country||11|
|By and Large "for those in trouble on the land"||T.D. Burnett||Discovering the Legends of the Mackenzie, Mt Cook Country||32|
|Bray Kills the Pig||Ernie Slow||Discovering the Legends of the Mackenzie, Mt Country with cartoon of the kitchen scene||82|
|Summer at Ben Ohau||J.M.S. King||Mackenzie Roundup||14|
|Cattle Drive||Robert E. Dunn||Mackenzie Roundup||32|
|The Inspector's Visit to Tasman Downs School 1932||Bruce Hayman||Mackenzie Roundup||106|
|Save the Merino||B P||Mackenzie Roundup||122|
|The Tartan Ribbon||Rachael Smith||Mackenzie Roundup||143|
|Rabbit Stew||Joy Lowe||Mackenzie Roundup||148|
|The Mackenzie Country is Calling||M Williams||Mackenzie Roundup||152|
|High Country||Dorothy Hallam||Mackenzie Roundup||154|
|From Lilybank to Glenbirnie||Betty Dick||Mackenzie Muster||15|
|The Drover||Mary Miller||Mackenzie Muster||13|
|Flinn and Williams||Ernie Slow||Mackenzie Muster||26|
|I Want No Cenotaph||Janet Cotterell||Mackenzie Muster||53|
|Written by a Shepherd||In 1913||Mackenzie Muster||58|
|Scents That I Love||Janet Cotterell||Mackenzie Muster||57|
|How the willows came to the Mackenzie Country||W Hart-Smith||Mackenzie Muster||96|
|Country Life||Kitty Ross||Mackenzie Muster||96|
|A Tribute to Enterprise||Nelly Sadler||Mackenzie Muster||108|
|I have served by time in the days gone by||Bill Perry||Mackenzie Muster||124|
|After a Visit to Fairlie from Rabbiters of 'The Mackenzie Country'||Bill Perry||Mackenzie Muster||124|
|Bray Kills the Pig||Ernie Slow||Mackenzie Muster||125|
|To The Pioneers||Janet Cotterell||Mackenzie Muster||131|
|Train Pupils 1917-18||Kitty Ross||Mackenzie Muster||142|
|The Crain||Janet Cotterell||Beside the South Opuha||34|
|The Musterer||Rosemary Lee||Sherwood Downs and Beyond||91|
|The Bar-X Pudding||Don Nelson||Sherwood Downs and Beyond||167|
|The Shearers came from Far and Near||Bill Perry||Sherwood Downs and Beyond||265|
|The Godley Ghost||Ernie Slow||Sherwood Downs and Beyond||280|
|Marching On The Roads Of Life||Ernie Slow||Sherwood Downs and Beyond||291|
|The Master Painter||Ellen Sadler||Sherwood Downs and Beyond||315|
|Farewell to Fairlie||by a swagger||Fairlie by Mrs. Stanley||173|
|Nine-tenths of a Century (1969)||Elaine M. Grundy||Written in commemoration of the 19th anniversary of the St. Columba||
|Collapse of a Dam 6th Feb. 1997||Julie Mcdonald (nee Benson)||Fairlie District Schools 125th Jubilee||
Poems & Prose
|Jack Lovelock||Bill Perry Nov. 1990||Fairlie District Schools 125th Jubilee||
Poems & Prose
|Bob Fitzsimmons||Ken Thoms||A Rainbow of Poems||
|Burkes Pass||Chris Cape 2005|
|The Streets and Bay||Asquith Thomson||South Canterbury Journal 1962||18|
|Richard Pearce||Elizabeth Lyon||South Canterbury Journal 1972||51|
|Flooding at the Point||John Leask||South Canterbury Writers Guild Journal #8||00|
|The Temuka Sundries Sale||A S Nelmes||Original Poems of the Past||101|
|Departure of Timaru Volunteers for Parihaka gb||Jessie MacKay||The Spirit of the Rangatira, and Other Ballads||32|
|Te Wanahu Corner gb||Jessie MacKay 1889||The Spirit of the Rangatira, and Other Ballads||14|
|Song of Aorangi gb||Jessie MacKay||The Spirit of the Rangatira, and Other Ballads||109|
|A New Song of a Shirt||Andrew Thompson||George Rhodes of the Levels||149|
|A New Song of a Shirt||Andrew Thompson 1859-68||NZ Farm & Station Verse||9|
|The Man from Kaiveroo||W Goldstone 1900-10||NZ Farm & Station Verse||49|
|Ballad of Benmore||George Meek 1938||NZ Farm & Station Verse||60|
|The Hungry Shearer||E C Studholme 1938||NZ Farm & Station Verse||68|
|Harvesting Wheat||F H Woods 1921||NZ Farm & Station Verse||81|
|Mustering above the Fog||Helen Scott 1937||NZ Farm & Station Verse||113|
|Hydroponics||'Whim Wham' 1922||NZ Farm & Station Verse||122|
|Autumn Muster||Violet Fraser 1943||NZ Farm & Station Verse||150|
|The Shearing Muster||Lloyd D Kenyon 1949||NZ Farm & Station Verse||174|
|The Keeping of the Pareora Bridge||Subscriber. St. Andrews||Otago Witness 30 Nov. 1888||14|
|Shearing's Coming||David M'Kee Wright 1896||Otago Witness 15 Oct. 1896||41|
|Geraldine||Father Fogarty Likely||online|
|Geraldine||Boolam Skee, Auckland. 1940s||online printed in a newspaper||0|
|Geraldine||Early Parish Priest||found in an envelope amongst photos||0|
|The Timaru Wrecks||Thomas Bracken 1882||Jubilee History of S.C.||512-3|
|The Saige O' Timaru||Thomas Bracken 1880||Jubilee History of S.C.||513|
|Music Hath Charms||J.T.M. 3 July 1867||Timaru Herald||3|
|Fairy Days||John Thomas Morris 1863||Jubilee History of S.C.||515|
|The New Chum in Timaru||J. T. Morris Mar 1867||Jubilee History of S.C.||516|
|The New Chum in Timaru #2||J. T. Morris Apr 1867||Jubilee History of S.C.||518|
|On the Gold Discoveries||J. T. Morris 1883||Jubilee History of S.C.||519|
|The Invasion of Timaru||J. T. Morris 1883||Jubilee History of S.C.||520|
|The Boys of the Sixty-Five||W. J. Steward 1906||Jubilee History of S.C.||530|
|Youth, Love and Age||W. J. Steward||Jubilee History of S.C.||531|
|Pilgrims and Prophets||Crosbie Ward 1858||Jubilee History of S.C.||537|
|Song of the Squatters||Crosbie Ward 1858 Book of Canterbury Rhymes||Jubilee History of S.C.||538-40|
|Various poems are listed by "Pseudonymous" poets:|
|Timaru Separation||"True Blue" 1865 June 14 pg3 TH||Jubilee History of S.C.||522-23|
|The Timaru Breakwater||"Vio" 1877 23 July 1877 TH||Jubilee History of S.C.||523-24|
|The Milford Harbour Works||4 Aug. 1877 TH||Jubilee History of S.C.||524|
|H-yh-t and the Ship||"Excelsior" 1877||Jubilee History of S.C.||525|
|The Song of the Nymphs||"Excelsior" 1879 24 Dec.||Jubilee History of S.C.||526|
|The Lay of the Bridge||"S.E.S." 1869 29 Sept. TH||Jubilee History of S.C.||527-29|
|A Little About Timaru||R.H.R.||Timaru Herald 26 Jan. 1877||3|
|Mesopotamia||John Button 2009||Tom Pepper's Dog and other poems a Geraldine anthology||19|
|Mt Peel||Joyce Peoples 2009||Tom Pepper's Dog and other poems a Geraldine anthology||53|
|The Orari River||Joyce Peoples 2009||Tom Pepper's Dog and other poems a Geraldine anthology||54|
|Timaru Library poetry||2009|
|The Church of St. Anne's, Pleasant Valley||Hugh Wyles, August 20th, 2010||online|
|Young Roberts||Denis Glover, 1957||Since Then. Timaru Herald 20 Sept. 2011 pg 8|
|To the Ladies of Timaru||Pro Bono Publico||Timaru Herald, 3 February 1869, Page 3|
|That Train from Timaru||12 July 1919 page 7||Timaru Herald|
97 poems listed as of
10 July 2014
"Seems to have been plenty of verse written in those days."
Sources of South Canterbury poetry:
Jubilee History of South Canterbury by Johannes C. Andersen, printed in 1916 contains many poems including a few by Jessie Mackay. All the poems in the book appear to be from the Timaru Herald and Lyttelton Times. These are all printed in a section starting on page 511. There's a lot of other information about the poetry of early South Canterbury in there too. Well worth interloaning or a reprinted edition is available for sale from the Museum: $NZ150, or $120 to SC Historical Society members (membership is $8). From page 46: "This stanza, with its local colour, appeals as an original production, and if it be so, it is the first recorded verse written in Canterbury."
With whalers and whaling, there's always complaining,
Like a boat or a mill out of tune,
While the whale's are in the bay, the men run away -
And we'll have a clear stage of it soon.
Recorded in the diary of Hempleman's Fishery, by the (anonymous) man who kept it in 1842 (who was in the habit of scrawling snippets of Tennyson and others in with his reports).
New Zealand Farm and Station Verse 1850-1950 / collected by A.E. Woodhouse ; with an introduction by L.J. Wild.
1st ed. 1950. Edition : 2nd ed. 1967 Publisher : Christchurch: Whitcombe & Tombs Ltd, 1967. Hb 201 pp. Art, Sketches (illustrator). 22.5cm By 14.5 Cm. 202 pages including index, 16 full page art plates, several by notable NZ artists, numerous b/w sketches. Index. A good source. There is brief biographical note on all of the authors and artists and there are also the dates that the verses were written. The book is interspersed with 15 b/w plates of beautiful paintings and drawings. Artists include: Peter McIntyre, A S Paterson, C D Barraud Hb. Among the dozens of contributors are Rewi Alley, James K. Baxter, W Pember Reeves, Arnold Wall, V May Cottrell, Eileen Duggan. "When the first edition of this collection of rural verse was published in 1950 one of the letters the editor received said the book was "bloody lovely" and requested a second edition so he could present copies to influential clients. It was nearly 17 years before the reprint appeared,, without major alteration, but to an equally favourable reception. More than 130 examples of rural verse are included, representing almost every facet of country life." Examples of Poems:
The Rabbiters Tent
To a Land Agent
Green shall Spring the Grasses
The Song of the Drover
Mustering Night in the Whare
The Drought Breaks;
The Old Forge, Ruatoria
The Valley Schoolhouse
Wool Commandeer by George Meek / Frank Fyfe
The Drovers Dog; etc
Famous Waitakians and other verses, by John L McCaw of Hakataramea. c.Y2K. Has a lot of poems on the area, but they are taken from weddings and war speeches and name quite a few people. Copy available at the Waimate Museum. 66 pages
On the Level : mostly Canterbury poems / by Wm. Hart-Smith. 1911-1990. Printed by the Timaru Herald, 1950. 44pg. Stapled soft cover.
Poems in Doggerel : some South Canterbury riverbed reflections (from a completed sequence) / W. Hart-Smith. Publisher : Wellington, NZ: Handcraft Press, 1955. 76 pp.
Poems / by Miriam Harris. Publisher : Timaru : Hector C. Matheson, 1932. pamphlet
Timaru Herald Saturday 28 May 1887 pg3 - The Major's War-Paint poem by Paddy Murphy, Wellington
Bay Of Plenty Times, 21 October 1884, Page 2 AUCKLAND. Thomas Bracken (Paddy Murphy) arrived yesterday from the South, and lectures to-night on the poets of Ireland.
Waimate Verse: Being Some of the Many Poems Inspired by the Beauty of Waimate, South Canterbury, N.Z.
Published by Waimate pub. co., 1935 26 pages
How to judge a poem
North Otago Times April 22 1876 pg 2
The river stone which Oamaru rocks supply,
With ready fingers and well tutored eye
The mason shapes; and quick beneath his bands
A city, rising into greatness, stands.
"Poetry is a mirror of our rural history and development, of spacious days that are gone."
L.J. Wild 1950
Whim Wham -
Allen Curnow (17 June 1911-2001) (active1931 - 2001) was a major poet and a journalist, who had a powerful influence on New Zealand poetry in general and a central figure in the emergence of an authentic New Zealand literature. He helped shape the texts of many poets and writers of fiction. Thomas Allen Munro Curnow was born in Timaru on 17 June 1911, the son of an Anglican clergyman and fourth generation New Zealander, and of an English mother, Norfolk-born, who never felt entirely at home in her adopted country. His emigrant ancestor was a son of a St Ives-born Cornishman, and great grandson of an Edinburgh Scot who migrated first to Tasmania and later to New Zealand, where he settled in 1835. Allen was educated at Christchurch Boy's High School and the Canterbury and Auckland Universities and for a period of studied for the Anglican ministry. Originally destined for the church, Curnow turned to journalism. He worked as a journalist on The Sun in Christchurch, 1920 - 30. From 1935 to 1948 was a reporter, sub-editor and reviewer with The Press.
His lifelong calling was to maintain poetry as an art, not as a vehicle for opinion, attitude or idea. These he reserved for his weekly exercises in light verse, published under the name of Whim Wham, a weekly deadline he met for more than 30 years. His highly entertaining verses, commenced in the Christchurch Press in 1937 and in the New Zealand Herald from 1951, voiced the awkward questions so many New Zealanders wanted to ask. Whim Wham became a Saturday institution and required reading for generations of New Zealanders. The subject matter varied from politics to underarm cricket bowling to walking the dog, renderings of our rugby obsession and ruminations on the state of the nation. He captured New Zealanders' reactions to world affairs from Franco and Hitler to Vietnam and South Africa, as well as covering the local political scene from Walter Nash to the eras of Robert Muldoon and David Lange. There were 2250 Whim Wham poems over 50 years. The book - Whim Wham's New Zealand: The Best of Whim Wham 1937-1988 - is a selection of columns that captured by his astute observations, snapshots that take on New Zealand events and foreign affairs, that offer invaluable insights for readers today.
Curnow spent 1949 with the News Chronicle in London. Following his post-war trip to England he joined the English Department at Auckland University in 1951 to 1976 as a contemporary. He has published poetry, plays and criticism and edited two books of New Zealand verse. His first collection appeared in 1933 but it was his editorship of Book of New Zealand Verse 1923 - 45, a landmark in New Zealand literature, with his long striking introductory analysis, that made him an influential national figure and controversial. In making a first really comprehensive anthology of my country's verse, I have found myself piecing together the record of an adventure, or series of adventures, in search of reality - of which New Zealand has been the scene, containing the deserts and dragons as well as the forests and fountains and fine prospects. Curnow's importance was recognised by numerous awards. He won the New Zealand Book Award for poetry on seven occasions, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, Cholmondeley Award and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, a honourary D. Litt from the University of Canterbury, and the Montana Award for Poetry in 2001 for The Bells of St Babel's. He was given a CBE in 1986 and received the Order of New Zealand in 1990. His verses offer an unique record of over fifty years of this country's recent past. He is appreciated by old and young beyond his scrap of green ground. His recent poems re-envision his childhood. 'A Busy Port' - brilliant poem of childhood. His writing has not started to wear thin. He died of a heart attack in Auckland on Sunday 23 September 2001 aged 90. When great poets die, the words stop. Obituary. The New Zealand Herald 2001-09-27. The Press, 2001 Oct. 1, p. 2, Christchurch star, 2001 Sept. 26, p. C9, Obituary published in the Times and the Scotsman. "One can count oneself lucky there is not a satirist of his calibre to let rip in the 21st century."
The Times (London, England) (Sept 26, 2001): p19.
Thomas Allen Monro Curnow was born in Timaru, South Island, in 1911, the son of an Anglican clergyman, who also wrote poetry. He was educated at Christchurch Boys' High School from where he began his working life as a cub reporter on the Christchurch Sun in 1929. It was his intention to enter the ministry himself and from 1931 to 1933 he trained at St John's Theological College, Auckland. His first collection of verse, Valley of Decision, was published in 1933. In its self-excoriating tone, it owed a good deal to the work of the "father" of 20th-century New Zealand poetry, R. A. K. Mason. Deci- ding against taking orders, Curnow returned to journalism on the Christchurch Press. There, he spent the next 13 years, graduating BA at the University of Christchurch in 1938. In Christchurch he befriended Denis Glover, poet and founder of the Caxton Press in the city. Glover was to publish all Curnow's work over the next seven years, beginning with Three Poems (1935). In Enemies (1937) Curnow satirised what he regarded as a peculiarly New Zealand form of middle class complacency. Among Curnow's honours were six New Zealand Book Awards and the 1988 Commonwealth Poetry Prize. He was appointed CBE in 1986 and received the Order of New Zealand in 1990.
To the reader.
All losses are loss
life itself the most trifling
some experts testify
from Collected poems 1933-1973
'All poems are rash acts', he wrote in an account of his work.
His best poetry he defined as 'little of the little I know of myself and the world.'
The New Zealander : It may not be easy to find the man behind these various projections of the isolated, last-ditch, forlorn-hope situation, with its hero-victims shocked into eloquence. It is not hard to find the New Zealander.
When and Where
The ampler, barer perspectives of mountains, plains and coasts of the South Island - separated from the North by the gale-threshed, ocean gut of Cook Strait.
This is a poem about the effect of the Canterbury's winds on the roof of settler houses , sheds and huts about the effects of place on the mind, the sounds its subject generates. Ernie Slow wrote The Godley Ghost - about the effects of the wind on the mind.
Wild Iron - poetry in action.
Sea go dark, dark with wind,
Feet go heavy, heavy with sand,
Thoughts go wild, wild with the sound
Of iron on the old shed, swinging, clanging:
Dark with the wind,
Heavy with the sand,
Wild with the iron that tears at the nail
And the foundering shriek of the gale.
The sensitive nor'west afternoon
Collapsed, and the rain came;
The dog crept into his barrel
Looking lost and lame.
But you can't attribute to either
Awareness of what great gloom
Stands in a land of settlers
With never a soul at home.
Allen Curnow, Selected Poems, Auckland: Penguin, 1982, 40.
In "Restraint," Curnow warns us not waste time searching for exotic places and exciting events when the true beauty of life can be found much closer to home. He suggests that we should appreciate the beauty we have around us because we might miss out altogether if we look too hard elsewhere. In the fifth stanza, Curnow stresses the "oneness" or unity of the world, and says that
wherever we go
there is one sun the world over
and the one heaven's blue;
and one heart risen with the morning
can light the world for you.
UK Telegraph 22/11/2001
ALLEN CURNOW, who has died aged 90, was regarded by many as New Zealand's greatest poet. Curnow was an urbane and measured writer whose poems, set in his native landscape, covered subjects ranging from the poet himself to art and history. For much of his early career, he was preoccupied with writing and looking for verse that defined a separate New Zealand identity.
With poems such as The Skeleton of the Great Moa in the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, first published in 1943 in the collection Sailing or Drowning, he demonstrated a literary nationalism that infused his work for some years:
The skeleton of the great moa on iron crutches
Broods over no great waste; a private swamp
Was where this tree grew feathers once, that hatches
Its dusty clutch, and guards them from the damp.
But his interest in representing and analysing his own country became a focus for his critics, who protested that the choice of poems for his Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse (first published in 1945), and his introduction to the book, were too narrowly nationalistic - a word Curnow himself rarely used. By the 1950s, however, Curnow's work had become more personal and, as he later recalled, he moved away "from the severities, not to say rigidities of our New Zealand anti-myth . . . the geographical anxieties didn't disappear; but I began to find a personal and poetic use for them, rather than let them use me up."
His later work drew on experiences from travelling abroad to incidents from his own childhood, and he would also tackle such universal themes as the imminence of death and the "oneness" of the world. Despite his status as a veteran New Zealand poet, Curnow's poetry retained a youthful vigour, and for many years he had a separate persona as a poetic satirist, "Whimwham", writing political and satirical poems for New Zealand newspapers. Last year he was one of a number of poets who wrote in protest at France's continuing use of the Pacific for controlled nuclear explosions: Jacques! Chirac's rutting tribe, with gallic eye for the penetrable, palm-fringed hole - thermonuclear hard-on, ithyphallic/ BANG! full kiloton five below the atoll. Throughout his life, Curnow's work was inventive and unpredictable. Despite his intensity of focus, his poems were full of wit and originality. He remained sanguine about his achievements. "The important thing in assessing the merit of a poem," he once said, "is time." Thomas Allen Monro Curnow was born at Timaru, South Island, on June 17 1911 to an English-born mother and an Anglican clergyman who was a fourth-generation New Zealander. He grew up at a succession of vicarages, and was educated at Christchurch Boys' High School and St John's College, Auckland. He later attended universities at Canterbury and Auckland. In 1929 he joined the literary staff of the Christchurch Sun, but the following year moved to Auckland to prepare for the Anglican ministry at St John's Theological College. His earliest poems appeared in the university periodicals Kiwi and Phoenix. Curnow's first collection of poems, Valley of Decision (1933), was greatly influenced by his decision not to be ordained. Instead he found a job on the Christchurch Press. During the 1930s and 1940s, he contributed numerous articles to the Press while writing poems for Caxton Press publications such as New Poems (1935), and for the radical periodical Tomorrow, usually under such pseudonyms as "Amen" and "Julian". His first significant book, Not in Narrow Seas, was published in 1939 and was followed by several others throughout the 1940s, most of which focused on New Zealand's landscape and history. During the war Curnow was a foreign news sub-editor at the Press; he also worked on his first play, The Axe: A Verse Tragedy, published in 1949. In that year Curnow received a literary fund grant to travel abroad and came to Britain where he worked at the News Chronicle and broadcast for the BBC. He also befriended Dylan Thomas, whom he continued to see in America, where he spent some time before returning to New Zealand in 1950. In 1951 Curnow and his family moved to Auckland, and he worked at the University of Auckland for the next 20 years, retiring as associate professor. For the first 10 years of his tenure, he continued to write verse and established himself as one of New Zealand's leading literary figures. Between 1962 and 1972, Curnow published little. But in later life, he returned to verse and his poetry became increasingly influenced by his childhood in Canterbury. He would combine memories of youth and family life with a creeping sense of the nearness of death, as in the title poem in his 1982 collection, You Will Know When You Get There: A door/ slams, a heavy wave, a door, the sea-floor shudders./ Down you go alone, so late, into the surge-black fissure. His categorisation as a "national" or "regional" poet was, in fact, misleading; his poems were "New Zealand" poems because that happened to be the place he knew best. Curnow received six New Zealand Book Awards, as well as the 1988 Commonwealth Poetry Prize and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1989. In 1986 he was appointed CBE, and in 1990 he received the Order of New Zealand. His most recent collection of poems, The Bells of St Babel's, won the poetry section of this year's National Montana Book Awards and its 11 poems showed Curnow still at the height of his powers. Curnow is survived by his wife Jenifer and by two sons and a daughter from his previous marriage to Betty LeCren, which was dissolved in 1965.
His father was Tremayne Munro Curnow, a regular regular contributor to the Timaru Herald feature pages as his friend Wm Alexander was editor. Thomas Allen Monro Curnow (known as Allen) was born in Timaru on 17 June 1911, the second of three sons of Tremayne Monro Curnow, an Anglican clergyman, and his wife, Jessamine Towler Gambling. Jessie had met Tremayne in Timaru in the late 1880s, shortly after emigrating to NZ with her mother, Rose, who had separated from her husband before emigration. They married in 1909. See The Bain Anglican Directory
05 Jan 1905-�1908 assistant curate Timaru diocese Christchurch
1909-�1912 assistant curate Timaru with Beaconsfield.
T.M. Curnow was a minor poet but father of a major poet.
Allen Curnow, said about "the visceral nature of true poetry. 'Try poking it with a stick and see if it's alive.'
The Timaru Herald Saturday, 4 August 2007
Sam Hunt: There was more to poetry than the books on the shelves, it also existed in the lyrics of many songs. However, great poetry had its own music. He told the TBHS students that it often took strength and courage to stand on your own and not be part of mass thinking. The only way to write is to write and he also wrote to right himself. He admitted some of his best poetry came out of depression. "To create electricity there needs to be a difference in energy. I don't think poems come out of a smug mentality." "If you're living on the edge of a cliff you might get good views but you're shitting yourself at the same time." Writing was not always easy. It paid to keep nudging poems along. It could sometimes take years for a poem to evolve to its final form but there were also poems that came out of nowhere. "Sometimes there's great poems that fall out of the sky like seagull shit."
Auckland Star, 27 June 1936, Page 2 VERSE ALIVE.
NEW NOTES IN OUR POETRY.
New Zealand poetry is moving fast from the old sentiments and sentimentalities of bellbirds and tuis and the immigrant's nostalgia. It has its advanced school, advanced in thought and form. It is helping to create a national spirit, and it is setting forth revolutionary ideas. What Mr. Denis Glover says in "Home Thoughts" in the volume "Verse Alive," issued by the Caxton Press, Christchurch, is in the minds of many New Zealanders.
'I do not dream of Sussex downs
or quaint old England's
quaint old towns;
I think of what will yet be seen
In Johnsonville or Geraldine. '
A North Island poet might have used Maori names. This, however, is perhaps the mildest poem in a collection which is so named because, in the opinion of its editors, it is alive with the urgency of the time.
Rhian Gallagher b. in Timaru in 1961. After completing Bill Manhire's composition course at Victoria University in 1985, she moved to London in 1987 where she obtain BA at London University, and Post-Graduate Diploma in Printing and Publishing at the London School of Printing. Her first poetry collection, Salt Water Creek, was published in the UK in 2003. Gallagher returned to Timaru in 2005. Those poems, though, are full of New Zealand -- its pines and paddocks and 'wild and unprotected light'. Some of them - 'The Quiet Place', 'Backyard', and especially the poems of childhood. During 2007 she worked on a project, in conjunction with the South Canterbury Museum, researching and writing a text on Jack Adamson's glass plate photography. She received an award from the Canterbury History Foundation. Gallagher is currently working on her second collection of poetry. Burial Waltz The Tip
Rachel McAlpine born 24 February, 1940 in Fairlie, where her father was the vicar there for three years and is one of six sisters. Her father was the vicar there for three years. After attending Christchurch Girls' High School and graduating with a BA from Canterbury University, she married at 19, spent one year teaching and four years in Geneva, Switzerland. Lives in Wellington.
Rangi Faith b. in Timaru in 1949, brought up in Temuka where he played a lot a of rugby and tennis. Lives at Rangiora
Owen Marshal said in Timaru 25 Nov. 2010 Poetry is perhaps the most subjective of all literary forms, and there are no rules. Modern poetry is no longer bound by diction, stanza length or the need to rhyme. Even definitions vary a great deal. The weaker ones had a tendency to sentimentality and dated poetic language, but almost all had the virtues of sincerity and close observation.
Timaru Herald, 20 June 1868, Page 2 The late storm
In travelling yesterday, I observed that the plains between the Orari and the Upper Ferry, Rangitata, was apparently covered with snow, and fear that the sheep stations on the hills will be found to have suffered greatly. If one could put quite out of sight the disastrous consequences to be apprehended from such a fall, the present appearance of the lulls westward is one calculated to inspire feelings of the most liveley admiration. Chiefly in the light of the morning sun, these snow covered eminences appear most beautiful and grand ; presenting sometimes the aspect of a glorious city, and recalling to the mind some beautiful lines of Wordsworth's, which have not at hand just now, commencing " The western sky did recompense us well," while at times, I suppose in some peculiar state of the atmosphere, the whole is tinged with a beautiful roseate hue. Not only at this time however, are these mountains worthy of observation ; at every season they are adapted so impress the observer with feelings of wonder and awe ; and are as well worthy of being celebrated in poetry and song.
Sitting on a wooden bench
yes, I am a little jaded
there is a whisper in that cool southern air,
I can't say that I do, I feel like I know you, Timaru
I can see all the way through the old Royal Arcade
And its a different kind of cool down here
That lets you know you are alive
But there is a whisper in that clear blue southern sky
That says that says cant see that I do bit I feel like that I know you Timaru
that says that says cant see that I do bit I feel like that I know you Timaru
NZ Electronic Poetry Centre
Traditional Folksong Collecting in NZ
Development of folk music
ballad - a simple narrative poem of folk origin, composed in short stanzas and adapted for singing.
doggerel - comic or burlesque, and usually loose or irregular in measure.
jingle -to make rhymes.
ode - a lyric poem typically of elaborate or irregular metrical form and expressive of exalted or enthusiastic emotion.
poetry - literary work in metrical form; verse.
prosody - the science or study of poetic meters and versification
sonnet - a poem, properly expressive of a single, complete thought, idea, or sentiment, of 14 lines, usually in iambic pentameter, with rhymes arranged according to one of certain definite schemes, being in the strict or Italian form divided into a major group of 8 lines (the octave) followed by a minor group of 6 lines (the sestet), and in a common English form into 3 quatrains followed by a couplet. (prosody)
stanza - an arrangement of a certain number of lines, usually four or more, sometimes having a fixed length, meter, or rhyme scheme, forming a division of a poem (prosody)
verse -metrical writing distinguished from poetry because of its inferior quality: a writer of verse, not poetry.
Otago Witness, 26
December 1895, Page 41
Softly, O softly chime,
For I am tired ;
So weary now, I would
That I could sleep,
And in thy cadence
Dream, then dreamily
Glide into slumber, but
A slumber deep,
Where thou wert not,
O bells of joy and peace!
Lull me until I gain
A sure release,
And soothe with thy
Sweet chiming tones of love.
That breath of Heaven
And all its joys above.
Until I sleep.
Timaru, Christmas 1895. �M.
Otago Witness, 13 March 1901, Page 71
The monthly meeting of the Gaelic Society was held on Wednesday evening in the Oddfellows' Hall, Stuart street. Mr Donald M'Pherson recited Miss Jessie Mackay's prize poem, "The Song of Albyn", and the secretary, in connection with this poem, said that the Highlanders had reason to be proud that out of 45 poems sent in for competition - the judges being Archdeacon Harper, the Rev. W. Gillies, and Mr J. G. Gow (chief inspector of South Canterbury schools) - the prize should be taken by a Highland lady, the poem was a very beautiful one, but he (the speaker) wondered whether the judges had noticed certain peculiarities, which had lent additional charm to it -namely, the double rhyme corresponding to the assonance which ran through nearly all the best Gaelic poetry, and also the placing of the verb before its nominative, which was always the Gaelic grammatical usage. One verse, taken at random, would exemplify what he meant.
Yellow-haired and rocky-hearted,
Swooped and darted low the Viking ;
Rolled the pagan fire afield,
Bush and bield and corrie striking,
Died the tender leaf on Albyn."
Tuapeka Times, 17 June 1896, Page 6
GOD BLESS OUR EMPRESS QUEEN." 36 lines
The following spirited lines, written by the Rev. Mr Farley, of Temuka, were read by that gentleman at the close of his sermon in St. Saviour's Church, Temuka, on Sunday week :
Let mighty England first the glorious keynote sound
Of the thrice majestic chorus that girdles earth around
From the snow-capped Himalayas to Niagara's awful roar,
Re-echoed in New Zealand, caught up on Afric's shore ;
Throughout the British Empire, the mightiest earth has seen,
Resounds to-day this anthem : " God bless our Empress Queen."
Evening Post, 28 July 1894, Page 1
Dear Editor � would I could ably rehearse
The good you have done me, and put in verse.
You've pleased me, and teased me, and many a day
From my brow you have driven "dull care" far away.
You have sharpened my wits. I could tell you in prose
And praise up your Column ; but everyone knows
We poets have all we can manage sometimes
In making our thoughts fit exactly to rhymes. �
"Florence Howe," Barnard Street, Timaru.
Evening Post, 17 November 1894, Page 1
The Ideal Women
Her eyes we care not what their hue
Are thoughtful, earnest, fearless, true.
Her hands ' they may be brown or white '
In helping others take delight.
And tho' she lacks " bewitching grace,"
She makes her home a lovely place.
She's busy, thoughtful, merry, bright,
The children hail her with delight.
She's no great wit, and no great beauty,
But ever, always, does her duty
And 'rarest charm of all, I know '
She never says, " I told you so."
Evening Post, 22 December 1894, Page 3
Lines for a New Zealand Christmas Card.
The scene has changed. In the dear Old Land
By the blazing logs we were want to stand ;
While here ' Our wood in the green, we say,
In the bush we will spend the festive day.'
But our hearts are the same as we wish you cheer,
A Merry Christmas, a Glad New Year ;
And kisses are just as sweet you know,
Whether stol'n 'neath broadleaf or mistletoe.
� Florence Howe, Barnard-street, Timaru.
Timaru Herald, 11 December 1915, Page 3
By Harriet Howe.
SUNSET AFTER RAIN.
The cradle of the valley
Is filled with floating mist.
The summits of the mountains
Are veiled in amethyst.
The trees spread grateful branches
Above a smiling sod.
For thirsting slaked, for hunger fed.
All things are praising God.
Taranaki Herald, 20 January 1894, Page 1
GOING TO MAKE A POPULAR SONG OF IT
"I am sorry to tell you," said the editor
" that we cannot use your poem."
" Indeed ?"
"To be candid with you, it is clumsy in sentiment and faulty in construction. The rhymes, are all wrong, and altogether it is not even decent doggerel."
Here the editor paused for breath, and the poet said meekly :
"Give it back to, me, please."
"I don't think you can do anything with it."
"Oh, yes, I can. I'll have it set to music and make a popular song of it."
Otago Witness 1909
Writers of verse label their productions sonnets, odes, ballads, and so on, without having the remotest conception of what a sonnet, an ode, or a ballad is. Some of them imitate the jingles of Kipling, or some other prominent producer of doggerel, and imagine they have achieved poetry. In a new country we should try to get the standard high from the beginning.
The above is referring to Hamilton Thompson, entitled "Ballads about Business and Backblock Life." Strictly speaking, there is not a ballad in the book; but that does not prevent the volume from being racy of the soil and very entertaining. It falls very far short of poetry, but it is made up of very respectable doggerel indeed. The author himself thinks the best verses are those entitled "Luck," "Another Station Ballad," "Otago Dredgemen," "The Sluicers," and "By Rere Lake.
Timaru Herald, 15 January 1909, Page 6
The Jubilee Procession
"Very fine, indeed."
"Very well arranged."
"A capital show."
"I am quite surprised."
"Really first class."
"I never expected to see anything like it."
"Wonderful, being got up in such a hurry."
"The Good Ole Twizel Outhouse"
Today Tomorrow, Timaru by the Auckland band Deja Voodoo - 2004
I've been thinking about leaving this
Saying goodbye to Caroline Bay
Since you left me how can I be happy here
I've gotta go away
So I get in my car pointing it north
Heading straight up state highway one
Maybe tomorrow I'll come round but for now I'm leaving town
Today tomorrow Timaru
That's where I met you
Today tomorrow Timaru
That's where I left you
Pack up the kids pack up the car pack up my dreams I'm leaving you
Say goodbye to Timaru Caroline Bay radio Caroline
Today tomorrow Timaru
That's where I left you
Washdyke Temuka Dunsandel Rolleston Templeton Hornby Rakaia
I've been thinking about leaving this town
Saying goodbye to Caroline Bay
Since you left me how can I be happy here
Today tomorrow Timaru
That's where I left you
Timaru Herald, 2 July 1887, Page 3
An Auckland writer in the Star says, pertinently: "More serious by far than the outbreak of Ruapehu is the eruption of Jubilee odes, poems, and songs that has taken place all over the colony. One hundred and eleven New Zealand poets thought themselves capable of carrying off the prize in Wellington, and in addition to that bright galaxy, every township in the colony produced a Jubilee poet with a spick-and-span ode which had to be recited or sung, and published for the benefit of the admiring public. At a moderate calculation New Zealand has produced at least five hundred Jubilee poems. That would give us one poet to every thousand of the European population, and as rhyming is a very infectious disorder, the whole of the people are in danger of " breaking out." Mr J. A. Froude, who is blamed with Injuring the colony's credit, is I fear, also responsible for this deplorable poetic eruption. The author of "Oceania" declares in that work that the great English poet of the future will probably be born and nurtured on the unexhausted soil and spiritual capabilities of New Zealand. And the great man's dictum appears to have already produced fruit. Everybody knows that the poet is " born " but the idea that unexhausted soil' is necessary to his nourishment is quite a new one. Leaving others to follow out that train of thought, I would simply remark upon the happy conjunction of Poesy and Poverty hinted at by Mr Froude in his remarks on New Zealand. Poets are notoriously impecunious ; so is New Zealand ; ergo, the latter has within her the "spiritual capabilities " necessary for the production of a host of poets. Or (lest I be confounding cause and effect), take it the other way : Poverty is the nurse of the poets, who "learn in suffering what they sing in song;" New Zealand is deplorably poor ; ergo, she produces a plenteous crop of poets. My private impression is that 99 per cent, of the New Zealand bards would be better employed if they would let the " spiritual capabilities " severely alone, and turn their attention (and the spades) to the " unexhausted soil " � in other words, get out of debt and on to a special settlement farm !"
The poetry of a now land is not easy to write. "Here rhyme was first framed without fashion, Songs shaped without form," sings Grordon.
Ragwort and Thistles Published by South Canterbury
Provincial Rural Women New Zealand in 2012.
Women living on the land are being celebrated in book of poetry and prose. 2000 copies of the book have been printed. A rural anthology consists of 52 pieces of writing from 48 submitters from around New Zealand. A judging panel of five, including Pleasant Point writer Karalyn Joyce. There are also plenty of South Canterbury and North Otago writers whose works are included in the anthology, such as Olwyn Green, of Oamaru, with her poem about an old faithful farm dog, Digger; a character poem by Joyce Welch, of Timaru; a description of endurance and adventure in Bud's Mate by Marion Williams, of Fairlie; and a tale of beauty but desperation in The Big Snow, by Sue Hargreaves, of Kakahu.
Standard, 30 June 1909, Page 8
YOU may live without poetry, music and art,
You may live without friends and books,
But you cannot live without good cooks.
Roses are red
violets are blue,
some poems rhyme
and some don't.
South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project