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The. National Educational radio in cooperation with the Library of Congress takes pleasure in presenting another lecture recorded under the auspices of the Gertrude Clark with all poetry and literature are fond of the library. Today. Allan Chernoff will discuss the work of New Zealand poets here to introduce him is the Librarian of Congress Dr. Quincy Mumford. Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Is my great pleasure to welcome this evening. Allan Chernoff now. In New Zealand. It will give a lecture on the subject on which he is obviously well-informed. And lecture on New Zealand poets. Mr. Kerr and I was born in tempera New Zealand in one thousand eleven. He was educated at Christ Church Boys High School at the university is of Canterbury and opera. And at St John's College. He worked as a journalist on the staffs to Christchurch newspapers. The sun from 1929 to 1930. And the press
from 1935 to 1940 eight. In 1949. He was with the News Chronicle in London. Returning to New Zealand he joined the English department of the University of Auckland in 1951. At that university he's been a senior lecturer in English. Since 1955. Continuing to publish his work. His first volume of poetry. Island then. Appeared in 1941. Since then he is published by the title. Sailing or drowning. At dead low water. And sonnets. Poems 1949 57. And a small room with large windows. His poems evolved to a period in the New Zealand quarterly landfall. As well as New were writing. Poetry.
And other pewter periodicals here and abroad. Also a dramatist must occur and as the author of the axe. A very strategy. Which was produced in Christchurch in 1047. And in Auckland in 1953. And a moon section which was performed at the OP and festival in 1959. And subsequently presented in other New Zealand localities. In addition to these accomplishments he's added to three anthologies. A book of New Zealand various 1923. A book in New Zealand various 1923 to 50 and the Penguin Book of New Zealand. Mr Grant visited the United States in 1050 under an award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. And he returned in 1961. To take part in the Institute of Contemporary Arts in a National Congress of artists and writers. Held here in
Washington. A number of his poems are on tape in the library's archive a recorded poetry and literature. We honored to welcome this distinguished poet from New Zealand. A country long and starts friend of the United States. And one that shares with us that tradition of the end the pendant. It is in a free society. Goes to Alan Carr now. Thank you. My lecture tonight. Could more properly be described. As a reading. It is a little of one. And something of the other. I know that words. That come to people's minds and perhaps too often do New Zealanders lips. When speaking abroad. Words like remoteness or
isolation. I am. Governing my town. I don't want to philosophize about remoteness or isolation. We in New Zealand did not discover them. Nor are we the only ones do suffer from trying to keep Matthew Arnold from muttering in my. Something about that sea of life and where we mortal millions. To hail a legend. I'm trying to put all those things aside and think only of. A couple of lines by. A fellow poet of mine and use it. Hello New Zealand poet of mine Rex fab and. The context. I forget about the lines that the young man the young man knew. That it was not a question of what ought to be or what ought not to be but of walking barefoot over a red hot fact with a load of life that mustn't be dropped. So I come to fact. It will
not be. These must be a few cold facts. Certainly not red hot. I must serve them code. Just. The position of New Zealand. And two or three facts about its history. Very briefly. The country lies. In the shape of two islands. About twelve hundred miles from north to south and about. One thousand miles to the east of Australia. The whole area about the same as that of the British Isles. Historically the only facts I think I need to mention of those concerning its discovery. Says by a Polynesian fellow countrymen for Baz the Maori people. Perhaps eight or nine hundred years ago. Next in the 17th century by the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman 16 42. Who set out in search of something else. That is the great southern continent that was
supposed to occupy the South Pacific. He found this crack part of the New Zealand coastline. Didn't land lost a few men. And went away. The country was. Then mislaid serves big by Europe Branford 50 years also when Coke rediscovered it made it his base for various voyages the end of the 18th century. And. Round about 1835. I suppose I can say in a sense I come into the picture because one of my great great grandparents about that time landed in the northern part of the country. Because the Polynesians come from. And because I think we have something more in common with them than the mere fact that we share an equal citizenship in one sixth of all somewhat under 3 million people. I wish to begin with some English versions of poems I shall call them for
lack of a better composition. From what was originally ancient oral tradition. These were these are probably my work. The linguistic work is not mine. I share the work with a very fine young Mattie linguist Roger Oppenheim. Who helped me with the original versions. Matt a fellow countryman. Composed in broadly three kind. What I will call for convenience. There not in condescension one kind. Of call the katak here. Chaotic have a ritual charm. Another kind called a y Atta or song just plainly a song the other kind which I think include the most beautiful of these things called the tang me or lament for the dead and. I would like to read you three modern
versions. One of a kind of hear. Or ritual charm and another of a wire and another element. Of two laments. I could read I should choose. The more public one because sometimes they were very private. The lament of a mother or a child the one I will read will be a public one a tiny ornament. A great chief who indeed in fact either did sign the Treaty of Waitangi it was one of the many chiefs who signed that treaty with Queen Victoria or either he signed it himself or it was a brother of his who did that will be the Lament for the chief who. But first of all a ritual chant of fire and water. The man Mary who is mentioned here is known to us all in New Zealand and to every schoolchild he was a kind of malady in part a Maori Hercules or sun hero and also a kind of
Maori Prometheus because in this charmed he discovers far and water. Title for this is the ritual chant of fire and water. It was dipped it was drawn in the water the water by the man called Maui. That hero who had doing to man God's great play by the man mowing linked by his lineage with the gods. He dipped for his drink the waters of the Weald he dad and it was done. He leveled the sand hills. The fire spit it flew into the stones and the trees caught it in their clasp. Throw it up on one monitor what gone they began searching for that bit for men to make use of. That the hands tremble gently for the file out appears. Burn slab for the moms not to cool of the man eater. He comes he is captured he has got tied in the trap.
He has got it. All this happened long ago in the islands of BT and Donna. And now a little while. Song. Called an ancient flute song I've seen in a bun flute for the nose a nose flute made a bun and it is said by some of the most eminent scholars of the magic of matter matters that the performer on this flute could in fact brave the tomb. Through the flute while at the same time uttering the words of the song with his lips. I don't know of anyone who has had a performance of this kind. The Shining cocoa by the way is not just the Shining is not a decorative adjective. The bird is The Shining. Oh shining Kolker with a long tail calling down to me on news
of the spring come close. The wind slams and pierces loosed from long I knew it where the pillow lives on and the ritual of those forgotten. Rituals be forgotten. Rain on a rain tangled over the broader loom of the Lost darkness. Come home but I'm to tired to have you. Fly out of the wind sleep in would make your own nest here in the quiet skies of the mind. And now the lament what Danny what a hoo hoo that famous chief. The man the person Hecate mentioned in the last line was another plane missed chief leader of the matinee in a heckuva.
Light Beings lit the sky above the burial Hill. What can this mean. But they're. My brother's shadow is gone my friends forgotten so soon the weapon plucked from your hand. Oh Bruce What was the night he died. Dying out of. The waning moon. You have crossed Rocky why he'll slip woman wise towards the setting sun. The sea is of the waste go weeping and. Hot was the way you went. Where the hills run unbroken. Bush opened the doors of the sky. You go up to the first heaven and go up to the second ones there. If it is asked Who are you. Say it is the ornament of the world who will battles. It is tiresome to me the talk of other men other peoples The tribes or
with the word trembles. We oppose that stand up right away you left us die that its love was only these tears the moist skin. The white mist hanging heavy about flamers as he. Dispersed them let them die. Lest the evil that is best forgotten in the memory. And now have lest it should be thought. That at least the idea of composing in the form of lament or had completely vanished from the. Thought. Of a modern and of my own generation. I would like to read you a lament. Composed by a hundred to holiday.
Composed by a modern morality in English 200 has attempted composition in the Maori language. But this lament seems something seems to echo in the sensibility and the imagination of a modern man. Something of. The wars between European. And Mallory of the last century. And something of a regret. But I think you'll see that in the form of the man is very very similar to the more ancient traditional form. At least in the fact. That at the end the mana is left alone desolated desolated by the departure of of the dead hero or heroes.
In that strident summer of battle when cannon great pinball taught on the pointed worlds and women's Now those men blood boiled in the eyes in the proud winter of defeat he stored on the weary and the guard the man maimed. He had was whom death looked up play on wild and adoration brought to me of all things manly he partook. Yet did it plummet down like a bird engulfing him as he headlong rush towards the night. The long night when Dawn wakes the play of the waking state. Farewell farewell companion of laughter and light who warmed the nights with the croaking chants of olden times. Hear me now sing poorly sing. At Dawn's light I look for you at the Land's End where the two oceans frock that you would go on without leaving a sign or a whispered message to the
trees feet or the grass or the inscrutable rock face. Even the innocent day dreaming moon could not explain the wind. Ry. To you it seems I am nothing and nobody and of little worth whom the disdainful years neither praise nor the cry but shall abandon the fact and the vast delight of worms Farewell farewell farewell let the heavens mumble and let the MCC knowledge your leaving us. Mine is the love gallows cry in the night. Let my grief hide the moon's face literally and God's salute they with flashing knives cupped open the dark belly of the sky. I feel rain. Spit in my face. I bear no malice. Let numb stain my vet addictions for I am at one with the wind in
the clouds He even the slapping rain the tattered sky and the wild solitude of the sea and the streaming with Neil. The case. And I would like to read you a few of us. By that who seems to me. To have been the first. New Zealand. To speak with the authentic voice of the new poet a poet who has that rare thing a new tax. Break a masons or stranger caverns appear in the earliest Britain when he was still a schoolboy seventeen or eighteen. In the early 1920s and there composed almost as if well literally I would say as if
no changes had taken place in idiom and style in English poetry since shall we say A E Housman. But they reach back to a strange complex of influences which worked upon Mason's mind among them that strange 19th century poet Thomas better. First because there's because it's a lyric that seems to back out on the country. And this solitary boy. With not a fellow poet. Not a fellow to speak with. Or work with. I think a very useful indeed. He calls it. Oh old memories of. Him. I think I have no other home than this. I have forgotten much remember much but I have never any memories such as these make out. They have of land of bliss.
Perhaps I have done well again do what they say they have done because God was on godly drink. But I have not commune with God as I think. And even though I live past day. Or rather I am for I have a bondage Fosse and have been so much taught I know. Slow to like great ships often I've seen 10 priests 10 each time around a grave long past. And I recall I think I can recall back even past the time I started school or went to cruise in the color pool. That I was present at the city's full. And I am positive that yesterday. Walking past one tree hill and quite alone to me there came a fellow I have known in some times but when I cannot say. Though we must have been great friends and he otherwise I should not remember him.
For everything of the old life seems as last year's deeds recalled by friends to me. And him. Which seems to me. Plainly the cry. Of. The Lonely Boy of what I think might or should have been genius. In another place another time. He calls it. The list as stars. And ironically of course he is echoing in the first line the famous lines from the Latin of Horace exact game on a man or a perennial. We have other who are doomed to raise up no monuments to out bras. For even as quickly as our bodies passing hands our
works will pass. Of us you'll be no more memory left to any sands than do leaves upon the grass. There will not be even the least word about eloquence no one will cry a louse. Alas alas but his swift passing away he of the mighty thought even before the slight sense of his poor flitting day with Sally out. Well could he have but to lengthen the short year Tuesday Maybe then he'd of rock greatest things as the westering sun gleams with one brightest gray setting and cloud caught. Such words can never be as we know. Yet we not complain but hold high heads. It's meat enough to have labored and love the labor we say more. We make it our creed that to bring out a small tribute of incense leave others to reign is enough. It indeed at times we mind how we should base blood but to leave not us. They then
truly lead. The next two short lyrics of Mason. Reed You were the first as a sonnet. And. The second. Is a fantasy. In the form of his. Birth a ped after Mason had printed them in a little book himself. Self published. Of which he threw some hundreds of copies into the into work on The Hobbit. Being disgusted because nobody much wanted him. They appeared after that in Harold Monroe's chapbook published in London in 1924 and the regular periodical published from Harold Monroe's poetry bookshop. Some have Monroe
came into possession of Mason's first little book. One of the copies he didn't have into the harbor. And he valued these newly printed them. The first is a sonnet called the sparks fairway of clay. Simple about dates. Well Clay strange at last we've come to it. After much measurement we must give up about ancient friendship. No more shall we sup in pleasant quiet places one lit nor wonder through the falling rain and shops and buffeted you while I live within a snug shop. No longer a place to mingle a bitter sweet cup of life the one inscrutable has thought fit to give us no longer know the strife that we from old heavy with each maintained companionship has been in and without aim. At the last of this life.
You surely have gained blank walls my freedom. And I. God only knows what I have gained. This is the second. A strange called latter day geography lesson. Reflects I think something of the. Reflecting irony. In the young poet's mind. Concerning his country. The place where it belongs. And also concerning. The relations of that country with the empire of which it was. This. Quoth the Eskimo master was London in English times. Step out a little bit faster you two young men at the last there. The
bridge would be on our right hand on the gun near where those crows stand we struck it you'll recall in Gray's rhymes this is where the Eskimo master was London in English time. This quoth the Eskimo master was London in English days beyond that hill. Clap him. But is that swear M.A. Do thing I slap him I distinctly heard you say Master don't like it here boys. Air Disaster overtook her blend of L.A.'s city held empires in sway and filled all the earth with their praise. This. With us Command Master was London in English Day. She held the quote the Eskimo master 10000000 when her prime was full. From here once Britannia cast her gaze over an Impala faster even than I was. Look they're working steward I make out and the abbey lives here under our feet. You have a swift and sure. Please kindly stop
poking your thumbs through the eyes of that skull. One. Lost. A sonnet by Mason. One of the. Person in one of the figures. In a tree in a good many is that of Jesus Christ. But an eddy and Jesus Christ a man Christ. Mason seems to have developed a form of ARIanism entirely his own. But. Is meditations on The Passion of Christ. Or take more or less that particular form. And the contemplation of the figure of Christ. As betrayed man. But this concert and.
The this is in the Gospel of John Chapter 2 Verse 4 where the Savior says to his mama. Woman What devide to do with the money it is not to come. Don't throw your arms around me in that way. I know that what you tell me is the truth. Yes sighs suppose I loved you in my you those boys do love their mothers so they say. But all that's gone from me this many a day. I am a merciless cactus an uncouth Wild go to Jagat olds the grim truth of a leaden crag. Woman I cannot stay. Each one of us must do is work of life will do it even in despite of her will brought me in pain from a woman whose blood made me who used to bring the light and sit on the bed up in my little room and tell me stories and tuck me up. At night.
Library of Congress lectures
Alan Kernow on New Zealand poets, part one
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the first of three parts, features New Zealand poet Alan Kernow discussing poets of his country.
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A series of lectures given at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
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Producer: Library of Congress
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Speaker: Kernow, Alan
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-Sp.2-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:29:39
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Chicago: “Library of Congress lectures; Alan Kernow on New Zealand poets, part one,” 1967-10-09, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
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