Friday, May 3, 2013
Cricket Society Journal reviews King Willow
A brief but very good mention of the book I edited, King Willow: Selected Poems by Robert J Pope, appeared in the latest issue of the Cricket Society’s Journal:
Review of King Willow: Selected Poems by Robert J Pope edited by Mark Pirie
HeadworX Publishers, Wellington, New Zealand
Mark Pirie is continuing to explore New Zealand literary history both old and new and here we have a selection of poems from a writer, Robert J Pope whose life (1865-1949) covered the birth of New Zealand cricket through to Walter Hadlee’s determination on the post-war tour of England to be worthy of full-length Test Matches.
Although, well-regarded in his lifetime as with many poets, he became unfashionable although there now seems to be a reappraisal of his work. The selection from his work set out here contains only a single cricketing poem but his other work is well worth modern consideration. There is a wistful and elegiac tone to his war poetry – no drums and bugles and hurrahs – more sadness at lives lost and friends no longer to be greeted.
The only cricket poem “King Willow” was written to welcome in the 1932 season but there is a small section of cricket prose at the end of the book. I also liked his affectionate parody of W B Yeats in Billy’s Tea which made me smile.
Not really enough perhaps to convince the cricket collector to add this to his library but Mark Pirie is ploughing a singular furrow as he explores the byways of
literature and deserves the praise that he is garnering. A writer and a publisher who are always worth seeking out. New Zealand
(From The Journal of the Cricket Society, UK, Volume 26, No. 4, Spring 2013, p. 69-70).