ISBN: 978 0 908569 26 7
It is not widely known that Charles Brasch, poet and editor, was also a prose writer and lecturer of considerable critical acumen and wide-ranging interest. As a poet responding poetically to other poets, artists and thinkers, Brasch was that rare being, an idealist who bore witness to his ideals without faltering.
ISBN: 978 1 877578 05 2
Charles Brasch (1909–1973) was the founder and first editor of Landfall, New Zealand’s premier journal of literature and ideas. Born in Dunedin, he grew up to be at home in the literature, art and architecture of Europe, but returned to devote his life to the arts in his own country – as editor, critic, collector and patron. Brasch’s vocation, however, was to be a poet. As he said in his memoir Indirections, in writing poems he ‘discovered New Zealand … because New Zealand lived in me as no other country could live, part of myself as I was part of it, the world I breathed and wore from birth, my seeing and my language.’ This selection shows his journey of discovery, as Charles Brasch learned by reading poets such as Rilke, W.B. Yeats and Robert Graves to find his own voice as ‘a citizen of the English language’. It is presented as a beautifully bound cased edition.
ISBN: 978 1 877372 84 1
For most of his adult life, Charles Brasch’s most intimate companion was his diary. In these journals, written in London during the Second World War, he is a young man searching for answers. Is he a pacifist? Should he join the army? Is he homosexual? Should he marry? Should he return home to New Zealand when the war ends? Are his poems any good? Some questions are resolved in the course of the journals, others not, but it all makes compelling reading.
This third and final volume of Charles Brasch’s compelling private journals covers the years from when he was 48 to his death at 64. By the 1960s, Brasch, though very private by temperament, was a reluctant public figure, especially as editor of Landfall – indisputably New Zealand’s leading cultural quarterly (he eventually quit as editor after 20 years). He was also becoming a highly regarded poet, who eventually had six books (one posthumous) to his name. Behind the scenes Brasch was increasingly important as an art collector and as patron and benefactor; the Burns, Hodgkins and Mozart Fellowships – for writers, artists and composers respectively – which he helped anonymously to found and fund, all began in this period.
This volume of Charles Brasch’s journals covers the years from late 1945 to the end of 1957, when the poet and editor was aged 36 to 48. It begins with his return to New Zealand after World War II to establish a literary quarterly to be published by the Caxton Press. The journals cover the first decade or so of his distinguished editorship of Landfall, a role that brought Brasch into contact with New Zealand’s leading artists and intelligentsia.