Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Madeleine Marie Slavick - A Tingling Day

Here's comment on the launch of A Tingling Catch from Madeleine Marie Slavick:


A Tingling Day

Springtime, Sunday. We see him in a field of grass, of thoughts. Don Neely is alone, except for a few stray pigeons and one empty bottle, which he picks up. ‘This is my second home,’ he says, walking in from the middle of the gloriously green Basin Reserve, one of the most famous cricket grounds in New Zealand.
Paddianne Neely walks the inside rooms in much the same way. She leads me through photographs of test matches she and Don have compiled, and mementos of the various teams around town. All the while, she straightens a frame or two.
Springtime, Sunday, but I walk through Basin Reserve almost every day as I go into town. I choose it for the burst of green, the hills beyond, the open wind. And for the love of sport, for the way it urges us to be our best.
Curator David Mealing loves cricket for the aesthetics, poet Harry Ricketts for the story, journalist Richard Langston for the ‘mind on mind’, and with the publication of ‘A Tingling Catch’, anthologist Mark Pirie can acknowledge many great things at once: New Zealand cricket, poetry, his hometown of Wellington, and his team of 75 writers.
‘A Tingling Catch’ is the first anthology of New Zealand cricket poems (and songs), representing almost 150 years of cricket history. It took five years for Pirie to complete.
Michael O’Leary performs ‘Hey man, Wow!’, Tim Jones decodes ‘the mysteries of swing’ while Pirie himself writes of ‘the hush’, the ‘melancholy bat’, ‘cold stats’, ‘time stuck in the pavilion’ and ‘the legacies left behind’. His ‘Cricket Man’ opens, ‘At twilight see him there. / Miles from where he began / Miles from where he trained. / He’s playing the game he loves.’
Springtime, Sunday. At the book launch in the Long Room of the Basin Reserve, Don Neely takes the New Zealand Cricket tie off his neck and presents it to Mark Pirie, as if to say, ‘welcome to my team of players.’

Don Neely, Basin Reserve © Madeleine Marie Slavick

A Tingling Catch
A Century of New Zealand Cricket Poems, 1864-2009
Edited by Mark Pirie
Foreword by Don Neely
Wellington: HeadworX, 2010
ISBN 978-0-473-16872-8
189 pages

Thanks to Mark Pirie, cricket historian Don Neely, archivist Paddianne Neely and New Zealand Cricket Museum Curator David Mealing. Written by Madeleine Marie Slavick, an author based in Wellington.

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