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This review is taken from PN Review 98, Volume 20 Number 6, July - August 1994.

THE LARGER CANVAS KENDRICK SMITHYMAN, Auto/Biographies, (Auckland University Press)
HUBERT WITHEFORD, A Blue Monkey for the Tomb, (Faber) £5.99
PETER BLAND, Paper Boats, (John McIndoe)
ANNE FRENCH, Seven Days on Mykonos, (Auckland University Press)
ANDREW JOHNSTON, How to Talk, (Victoria University Press)

To university students of English the world over, the canon of poetry in English is normally defined either by a hefty Norton Anthology or by OUP New York's Poetry in English. The modem volume of the former admits one or two of the indispensable antipodeans to the canon; the latter, with an editorial board that includes a token Canadian (Rosemary Sullivan), prints brief selections from Margaret Atwood and P.K.Page, but ignores the antipodes altogether. What this means for the visibility. of New Zealand poetry in the English departments of the world can easily be guessed. Allen Curnow, coeval of Czeslaw Milosz and in every respect as weighty a poet, will be bypassed by the generations currently being processed through the institutional machineries; the late James Baxter, one of the finest poets of the language since the Second World War, will go unread unless a reader chances to be directed to his work; Kendrick Smithyman, Vincent O'Sullivan, C.K. Stead and Bill Manhire, all among the most arresting and imaginative poets now writing in English, will be names at best; and many more fine poets, more than we might reasonably expect a country of three million to produce, from Elizabeth Smither, Cilla McQueen and Lauris Edmond to Hone Tuwhare, Elizabeth Nannestad and Gregory O'Brien, will be somewhere at the fringes of the map, with the dragons, winds and unknown waters.

It would be easy to affect lofty indifference to this situation, and to argue that work of quality will ...

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