New Zealand Literature Criticism: New Zealand Poetry - Essay

Alistair Paterson (essay date March 1976)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Paterson, Alistair. “Poetry in Transition: Notes on Trends and Influences in New Zealand Verse.” Landfall: A New Zealand Quarterly 30, no. 1 (March 1976): 76-85.

[In the following essay, Paterson provides a brief overview of early twentieth-century New Zealand poetry, suggesting that it was deeply influenced by the cultural and historical forces that shaped the country at that time.]

How does one write down anything about poetry; it is something almost impossible to define and not much easier to evaluate; but we keep attempting (in spite of the difficulties) to trace out the patterns of its development, to determine the influences which have shaped it and...

(The entire section is 3466 words.)

Andrew Johnston (essay date spring 1992)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Johnston, Andrew. “Entertaining Possibilities: Six Contemporary New Zealand Poets.” Meanjin 51, no. 3 (spring 1992): 641-52.

[In the following essay, Johnston surveys the work of several New Zealand poets, including Allen Curnow, Bill Manhire, Gregory O'Brien, and Michele Leggott.]

There is no mainstream in New Zealand poetry. Under scrutiny, the critical categories proposed from time to time break down into ever smaller categories, whose number almost corresponds with the number of poets. Rather than offer a guided tour of a hastily erected artificial structure called ‘New Zealand poetry’, I have found it more useful to respond to the writing itself by...

(The entire section is 4030 words.)

Terry Sturm (essay date 2001)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Sturm, Terry. “New Zealand Poetry.” In A Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry, edited by Neil Roberts, pp. 293-303. Oxford, England: Blackwell Publishers, 2001.

[In the following essay, Sturm offers an account of New Zealand poetry, stressing that although other forms of writing have existed alongside it, it is the poetry of New Zealand that most consistently reflects the ongoing cultural debate in that country.]

A generation ago there would have been widespread agreement about the general shape an account of New Zealand poetry would take. It would have confined itself to poetry in English, and identified a development in two phases: a colonial period of...

(The entire section is 5500 words.)