the only New Zealand poet ever to figure in Private Eye.No longer.
As the whole world knows now, or at least that portion of it that reads the Sunday Star-Times, the latest issue of Private Eye has an item in its Books & Bookmen column about the CK Stead/Nigel Cox story already featured here, here, here and here. In the SST Stead cheerfully – and rightly, I reckon – takes the view that all publicity is good publicity:
He also said that featuring in Private Eye was like having his 15 minutes of fame at age 77.I get my own 15 minutes of fame when Stead describes me as “in an essence, a literary wannabe; he is essentially a literary gossip columnist.” He dismisses Keri Hulme’s criticism on this blog of his short story “Last Season’s Man”:
“people should start attending to Keri Hulme again when she is a writer again. She is not a writer at the moment, she gave up a long time ago, and when she starts again she will earn attention.”I don’t know about this: she’s either worth attending to or she isn’t, and I can’t see why it would have much to do with her recent publishing history. And as the SST says, Stead himself called her “a major writer” as recently as 2007.
The Eye column isn’t available online as its publisher, Lord Gnome has the same sensible attitude as Rupert Murdoch: it is silly to give content away. You’ll have to buy the dead-tree magazine unless you are one of the many in New Zealand who have received PDFs of the page in their email inbox: I don’t know the source of these, but boy have they gone viral. I won’t quote from the story as it is all copyright but the SST piece (not online) quotes enough to give the flavour of it: more sour than sweet, basically.
UPDATE: the latest Sunday Star-Times story is now online here.
UPDATE 2: Jolisa Gracewood, the literary detective who uncovered the plagiarism in Witi Ihimaera’s novel The Trowenna Sea, weighs in here. It’s all good but the last par is outstanding.
UPDATE 3: You’d think there was nothing more to say about all this, but Guy Somerset has lots in the Listener published yesterday, cover date 1 May: the article will be online here from 22 May. It opens with Stead’s reaction to Janet Frame’s 1963 short story “The Triumph of Poetry” (which Fergus Barrowman refers to in a comment here). Stead thought the main character was based on him and took strong exception at the time. He still does: he said in 2008’s Bookself that the story gave “gratuitous insult and offence to Kay and me” and says in his forthcoming memoirs that it was “so blackly targeted it felt like a malediction”.
I wonder what Alanis Morissette would say.