John and I talk on the phone about every second week. Invariably, he’s got suggestions for what I would enjoy reading and sometimes for what I might like listening to. I’ve benefitted from these amicable suggestions for years and have never repaid the favour. This is because I can’t match John’s capacity to read, let alone his appetite for very long books.
By international standards all New Zealand publishing is small press publishing. The country is home to only 4.73 million people. If a significant proportion of the adult population supports the authors of cookery and gardening books, such enthusiasm rarely extends to buying titles by novelists, playwrights, and poets.
Some time ago I was traversing through Papers Past, an archive of digitised newspapers managed by the National Library of New Zealand, when I fortuitously encountered six poems by Lola Ridge in the New Zealand Illustrated and The New Zealand Tablet.