[Photograph: NZ Book Council]
Charles Brasch (1909-1973)
Classic New Zealand Poets In Performance (2006):
from In Your Presence:
'I read your signature'
'Morepork, Shrewd Sentry Owl'
Biography / Selected Bibliography
New Zealand Poets Read Their Work (1974):
LP 2, side 1
from In Your Presence
Waiata Archive (1974):
from In Your Presence:
I read your signature
Morepork, Shrewd Sentry Owl
Born into a wealthy mercantile family in Dunedin, Charles Brasch was educated at Waitaki Boys High, then New Zealand’s best-known public school, and subsequently went on to study (and pursue his own writing) at Oxford. On his return to New Zealand in 1931, he continued to publish poetry, and was an important contributor to Phoenix, Auckland University’s new literary quarterly. After a confrontation with his father over his refusal to work in the family business, he returned to live in Europe, where he stayed till the end of the Second World War (with brief visits home)
His first book of poems, The Land and the People, was published in 1939 by the Caxton Press. The alliances he had formed with Denis Glover, Allen Curnow and other members of the New Zealand literary avant-garde bore fruit when he founded Landfall, still New Zealand’s foremost literary periodical, on his return to New Zealand in 1945.
It is as Landfall’s founding editor that he made his greatest mark. He ran the magazine for twenty years, 1947-1966, bringing a new seriousness and professionalism to New Zealand letters.
He continued to work as a poet, however, publishing new collections every few years. A memoir, Indirections, was published posthumously in 1980, and his Collected Poems in 1984.
The Land and the People, and Other Poems. Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1939.
Disputed Ground: Poems 1939-45. Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1948.
The Estate, and Other Poems. Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1957.
Ambulando: Poems. Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1964.
Not Far Off: Poems. Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1969.
Home Ground: Poems. Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1974.
Collected Poems. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1984.
Amrita Pritam. Black Rose. New Delhi: Nagmani, 1967.
Poems by Esenin. Translated by Charles Brasch and Peter Soskice. Wellington: Wai-te-ata Press, 1970.
The Quest: Words for a Mime Play. London: The Compass Players, 1946.
Present Company: Reflections on the Arts. Auckland: Blackwood and Janet Paul for the Auckland Gallery Associates, 1966.
(with C.R. Nicholson) Hallensteins: the First Century, 1873-1973. Dunedin: Hallenstein Bros., 1973.
Such Separate Creatures: Stories. Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1973.
Indirections: a Memoir, 1909-1947. Wellington; New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.
The Universal Dance: a Selection from the Critical Prose Writings of Charles Brasch. Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 1981.
Landfall Country. Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1962.