Thursday, October 21, 2010

Capital Times - Review of A Tingling Catch

I was delighted to find the following review by Martin Doyle, a well-known Capital Times columnist and poet, in Capital Times this week. Martin used to organise a great series of poetry readings in Berhampore, Wellington. Thanks Martin.


New eyes for cricketers

If you're one of those readers who's been waiting patiently on the boundary for a juicy literary gimme from the men at the crease, throw your cap in the air and spread your hands wide: A Tingling Catch is the answer to all your prayers. And, according to HeadworX, it's also the first anthology of New Zealand cricket poems to be collected. In fact you score 125 poems "off" 75 (nearly all male) poets and even a "Streaker" at the end, so there's never a dull moment. Pirie has picked poems from as early as 1864 right through to last year. He has structured the book round half a dozen major themes, such as "Players" and "Matches and Tours" For connoisseurs of cricket, it reads like a letter from home with references to Sutcliffe and Wadsworth, Karori and The Basin. Anyone who's into language will enjoy a healthy dose of that in-spinning vocabulary that belongs to cricket: rising balls, googlies, missed sweep shots and cover drives. And speaking of covers, Jocelyn Galsworthy's detailed watercolour (on the cover of the book) of England playing New Zealand in Wellington in 2002 further demonstrates the valuable but seldom-performed role artists can play in relation to sport. I love the humour of poems like "Catches I have dropped" by Scott Kendrick and Wellingtonian Harry Ricketts' "An NZ Lit XI" where he picks writers for their cricketing (yeah, yeah: we believe you) ability such as: "Gee, champion crease-prowler / steady accumulator off back-foot". And like a true Wellingtonian, Anne French takes out the middle stump with several lines describing her "lust" for one of the players. She gives no names but this is the sort of writing that will have everyone looking at everyone with new eyes this summer. Overall, a good knock.

(From Capital Times, Vol. 36, No. 2, 20-26 October 2010)

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