broadsheet 12 features Star poets of Christchurch 1922-26

The latest issue of broadsheet, no.12, November 2013, has gone historical with a special feature on The Star poets of Christchurch 1922-26, a mostly unknown and previously unacknowledged group of early New Zealand poets.

Mark Pirie discovered the ‘lost’ group in the Christchurch Star by happenchance while researching his grandfather Tom Lawn’s Canterbury rugby career during the 1920s.

Mark decided to collect them in a special issue of broadsheet in order to bring their work to public attention and notice. The group is part of Mark’s ongoing examination of the period 1915-30, a neglected period in New Zealand poetry.

The discovery provides new insight in to the 1920s period and shows vigorous literary activity in the Christchurch Star. The two best known Christchurch papers for literary content are The Press and The Sun. Mark couldn’t find the Star group mentioned in New Zealand poetry anthologies or in studies of the period. A check of the recent Oxford history and companion similarly brought up no index references to the poets.

Of these Star poets, the best known is Una Auld (nee Currie) who also appears in Bill Manhire’s recent 100 New Zealand Poems and 121 New Zealand Poems anthologies.

Also included with it is a supplement containing the full index to the poems/poets found and Mark’s field notes compiled from official sources at the National Library of New Zealand and other open-access public information websites.

The Star poets included are: Una Auld (nee Currie), R D Brown, Aline Dunn, H S Gipps, H H Heatley, Bessie L Heighton, Honor Gordon Holmes, E A Irwin, W J McKellow, Patricia Parker, T E L Roberts, Sherratt, H Tillman and Ida M Withers.


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