Charles Spear (1910-1985) is one of the few genuine exotics in the garden of New Zealand poetry. Emerging from obscurity in the late 1940s in Landfall, Arachne and the New Zealand Poetry Yearbook, Spear published a single volume, Twopence Coloured (The Caxton Press, 1951) before falling silent again. Yet his vivid, succinct and enigmatic lyrics with their expert rhyming stanzas, their striking imagery and their sometimes arcane allusions to European literature and history retain their freshness and fascination more than half a century later. This edition reprints the contents of his only book and adds a handful of uncollected pieces together with some highly personal new poems written shortly before his death.
The book also includes a photograph of Spear, a foreword by his daughter, Daintry Midgley, an afterword by Peter Simpson, a bookplate designed by Spear’s friend and contemporary, Leo Bensemann, extensive notes by Matthew Wood and Peter Simpson, and six superb colour images specially made for the book by leading New Zealand artist Tony Lane, whose major survey show, Practical Metaphysics, was shown at the City Gallery, Wellington, last summer.
Collected Poems was designed and letterpress printed by Tara McLeod on an Asbern cylinder press. Type is 12pt linotype Jansen set by Longley Printing Co. Ltd. Images from photopolymer plates made by Inline Graphics. Paper is Teton warm white text 118gsm. Binding is by Design Bind Ltd. 90 pages, casebound. 100 numbered copies, signed by the artist and editor.
Notes to Collected Poems