Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A tribute to Allen Curnow

LANDFALL 222 is out this week, and it contains a tribute section for New Zealand's greatest poet, Allen Curnow, on the year of his 100th birthday.

As part of this tribute to Curnow a new poem of Janet Frame's is published for the first time. Frame wrote the poem in 1987 while she was in Auckland living in Albert Park as the inaugural Frank Sargeson Fellow. The poem describes a party at Karl and Kay Stead's place, with Allen Curnow one of the other guests. Allen tosses off a comment: 'Auckland is wonderful in March', and with her typical wry humour and acute observation, Frame describes the ripples that this casual statement sent through the literary gathering:

The poet in his seventy-plus body
he's a great poet
long live his heartfelt asides
extracted wih precision and power
toned and tuned as the brilliant harmonious gift,

that in secret, away from the party, makes his poem.

As well as the section commemorating Allen Curnow, this issue of Landfall also devotes a section to work arising from the shock waves of the Christchurch earthquake.

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