Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Tingling Catch contributor Harvey McQueen dies

My friend, the well-known poet/educationalist/anthologist Harvey McQueen, a contributor and adviser to A Tingling Catch and a HeadworX author, sadly passed away on 25 December 2010. I’d like to offer my condolences to his partner Anne Else as well as his family and friends.
I attended a small private service for him at the Main Chapel, Karori Crematorium on Friday 31 December 2010. A public memorial service was held on Friday 28 January 2011 at Old St Paul's, Mulgrave Street, Wellington. Ian Wedde, myself, Vincent O'Sullivan and Roger Robinson spoke on Harvey's literary career at the service.
In lieu of flowers, you are invited to make a donation to the Harvey McQueen Memorial Fund, to foster children's appreciation of New Zealand's birds through Zealandia. Donations may be posted to Zealandia, PO Box 9267, Marion Square, Wellington 6141.
Harvey wrote a blog "Stoat Spring" and was an active member of the New Zealand literary blog community. All who’ve followed his blog over the past few years will feel the loss of his presence. Harvey was also the co-editor with Ian Wedde of The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse, the memoirs The Ninth Floor and This Piece of Earth, and seven poetry collections, including Goya Rules (HeadworX, 2010). I interviewed and featured Harvey in my poetry journal, broadsheet, issue no. 5, May 2010.
I’d like to post Harvey’s poem from A Tingling Catch in memory of him.


From Akaroa DHS

i First Day

In winning their war, all my adults counselled certitude
though perilous the outcome from those massive field guns
until strung up to view was a mistress & her Mussolini.

My stepfather, who’d slogged from Cairo to Trieste,
swore fluent & rolled his own as only a soldier could & should
& his wife, my mother,
anxiously signed me up for the third form.

Being small –
thirty-five the roll –
‘your son won’t come to any harm’
& ‘Sticky’ Arnold strolled out to the clustered strangers
suggesting they leave untouched this uncounted one.

Despite my plea(s)
they gave me the neglect of a horse trough dribble
the other new boys received a headfirst dunking
in front of the admiring girls.

Inside – at a test, unthinking, I got them all right.
Someone said ‘skite’
& for revenge
at lunchtime caught & bowled me spin first ball
whereupon I went out to field cicadas on the boundary.

Poem © Harvey McQueen

Harvey McQueen
(HeadworX publicity photo)

See my blog post from October last year, ‘Harvey McQueen’s These I Have Loved’, on Harvey’s last poetry anthology, These I Have Loved: My Favourite New Zealand Poems, published by Steele Roberts.

These I Have Loved:
My Favourite New Zealand Poems
edited by Harvey McQueen
(Steele Roberts, 2010)

1 comment:

  1. I was so so sad to hear today about Harvey's death. It's a great loss.