Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fairburn, A. R. D.


Classic New Zealand Poets In Performance (2006):

Full Fathom Five
A Farewell
The Cave
Walking on my Feet
Biography / Selected Bibliography

New Zealand Poets Read Their Work (1974):

LP 2, side 2

Full Fathom Five
A Farewell
The Cave

LP 3, side 2

Walking on My Feet
Away from it All

Waiata Archive (1974):

CD 1

Denis Glover reads A. R. D. Fairburn's "The Rakehelly Man"

CD 23

Full Fathom Five
A Farewell
Walking on My Feet
Away from it All
The Cave

Bio /Bibliography:

Arthur Rex Dugard Fairburn was born in Auckland in 1904, a descendant of the missionary W. T. Fairburn, who came to New Zealand with Marsden in 1819. He attended Auckland Grammar School, where he met R. A. K. Mason, but did not matriculate due to the compulsory mathematics requirement. After leaving school he worked as an insurance clerk, resigning in 1926 to pursue his writing. He left New Zealand in 1930 to travel to England. His first volume of poetry, He Shall Not Rise, was also published in that year.

While in England, he met and married a fellow New Zealander, art student Jocelyn Mays. At the end of 1932 they left depression-ridden England to return to New Zealand, where he joined the thousands of unemployed working on the roads. His long poem Dominion, published in 1938, is a portrayal of New Zealand at that time.

He was an active member of the literary circle centred around Christchurch printer Denis Glover’s Caxton Press, and wrote for a number of radical journals, including Phoenix, Sirocco, and Tomorrow. In 1934 he took on relief work as assistant secretary of the Auckland branch of the NZ Farmers’ Union and sub-editor of Farming First.

In 1942 he was called up for military service, then, in 1943, the year Caxton published his Poems 1929-1941, was manpowered into broadcasting.

In 1948 he became a tutor in the English Department of Auckland University, and in 1950 a lecturer at Elam, the University’s school of Fine Arts.

He died of cancer in 1957. His Collected Poems, edited by Denis Glover, appeared in 1966, and a volume of Selected Poems, edited and introduced by Mac Jackson, in 1995. As well as a poet and polemicist, Fairburn was also a broadcaster and fabric designer, an early environmentalist, and loved the outdoors – tramping, swimming, boating and golf.

He remains one of New Zealand’s most popular writers.

Selected Bibliography

He Shall Not Rise: Poems. London: Columbia Press, 1930.
The County. London: Lahr, 1931.
Dominion. Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1938
[with Allen Curnow, R.A.K. Mason and Denis Glover]. Recent Poems. Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1941
Poems 1929-41. Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1943
The Rakehelly Man and Other Verses. Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1946.
Strange Rendezvous: Poems 1929-41, with additions. Christchurch: Caxton Press, 1952
Three Poems: Dominion, The Voyage, To a Friend in the Wilderness. Wellington: New Zealand University Press, 1952.
The Disadvantages of Being Dead and Other Sharp Verses. Wellington: Mermaid Press, 1958.
Poetry Harbinger, introducing A.R.D. Fairburn (6 foot 3) and Denis Glover (11 stone 7). Auckland: Pilgrim Press, 1958.
Collected Poems. Christchurch: Pegasus Press, 1966.
Selected Poems. Edited by Mac Jackson. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1995

A Discussion on Communism between A.R.D. Fairburn and S.W. Scott. Auckland: Auckland District Party Committee, Communist Party Committee, Communist Party of New Zealand, 1936.
Who Said Red Ruin. Auckland: Griffin Press, 1938.
The Sky is a Limpet (a Pollytickle Parotty). Devonport: Phillips Press, 1939
We New Zealanders. Wellington. Progressive Publishing Society, 1944
How to Ride a Bicycle in 17 Lovely Colours. Auckland: A.R.D. Fairburn & the Pelorus Press, 1947
The Woman Problem and Other Prose. Edited by Denis Glover and G. Fairburn. Auckland: Blackwood & Janet Paul, 1967.
The Letters of A. R. D. Fairburn. Edited by Lauris Edmond. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1981.

McNeish, James. Walking on my feet: A. R. D. Fairburn: a kind of biography. Auckland: Collins, 1983.
Trussell, Denys. Fairburn. Auckland University Press: Oxford University Press, 1984.

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