Thursday, January 24, 2013

The AUP anthology of New Zealand literature #3

My deep thoughts on the book from last month are here, in case you missed them, and Mark Broatch’s initial response is here. In the latest magazine reviews, Paul Little in North & South likes it (not online) as does Hugh Roberts in the Listener (teaser here) in, I think, the 5 January issue. If my inbox is any indication, the Roberts review has ruffled feathers, particularly his comment that while drama is “woefully under-represented [. . .] you’d have to include some frankly bad plays to tell that story with any completeness”.   

A playwright agrees with me that it would have been better if the editors had omitted drama entirely “rather than their contemptuous selection from five playwrights only”. A poet replies that the idea of including bad work is “academic stupidity” and suggests that “the fiction, non-fiction and poetry ‘stories’ are therefore incomplete without a lot of even ghastlier examples than Stafford and Williams have mustered”. Ouch.

This one will run and run. I hear – this is a sadly rare example of literary gossip at QUQ – that the next issue of the Listener will have a letter to the editor from Playmarket grizzling along these lines. Scorchio!

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