It was nice to find my anthology of cricket poetry,
A Tingling Catch, mentioned in the
Journal of the Cricket Society in
Two cricket books I edited: A Tingling
Catch and Michael O'Leary's
Out of It are given brief reviews by John Symons alongside
recent cricket books.
It is great for NZ cricket writing to receive mentions in their
journal. Here are the brief reviews:
Review of A Tingling Catch - A Century of New
Zealand Cricket Poems 1864-2009
Mark Pirie, Editor (HeadworX
Wellington, New Zealand)
This is a reprint of the book originally published in 2010 and
it's fair to say that the content is a little uneven, with a
too-large number of parodies of other songs and poems, most of
which seem to have been gathered by Sir Richard Hadlee in an
earlier book, Hadlee's Humour, which certainly sounds like
a contradiction in terms.
The poems are generally in blank verse (or as we used to say at
school - "Sir - Sir - it doesn't rhyme Sir") although the works
from earlier times are much more conventional. Poetry is perhaps
one of the most subjective of all literary forms and, with the
emphasis on things New Zealand; it's hard to know if there will be
a widespread appeal for this selection.
The editor, Mark Pirie, contributes a number and they are among the
better offerings, but the standout poem is from Jenny Powell, with
'Under Cover' which evokes memories of cricket and a relationship
shared at the Carisbrook ground with an underlying feeling that the
relationship was becoming as sterile as some of the play.
Dispassionate with a slight air of wistfulness, this is an
unsettling piece and I will look to read more from Jenny Powell.
Bonus points to David McGill for attempting a limerick that gets
lines to rhyme with Adam Parore.
Review of Out of It by Michael O'Leary (HeadworX
Wellington, New Zealand)
If there has ever been a stranger book on cricket, I've yet to
see it. I always thought that Willie Rushton's W G. Grace's
Last Case was the strangest but this one
Well, it's a reprint of a 1987 book which is apparently a 'cult
classic.' The main story (?) is of a one-day match between a proper
New Zealand side led by Jeremy Coney and a team named Out Of It.
The latter team is skippered by the Maori chief Te Rauparaha with
Bob Marley as Vice-Captain and the likes of Janis Joplin, Oscar
Wilde, Jimi Hendrix and Hermann Goring playing (look, I'm not
making this up!) with a running radio commentary from standard and
It reads not unlike one of the earliest Dadaist offerings, written
under the influence of hallucinogenics and although that almost
certainly isn't the case, it may have been the author's intention
to read as if it was. Perhaps it's about dislocation in society -
perhaps it isn't. Maybe it's about a suburban man becoming
unsettled in real life and entering the surreal world of the
imagination - and maybe it isn't. It's unclassifiable (and
occasionally, in parts, unreadable) but if you suspend disbelief, a
kind of logic can be found.
It's not a spoiler to let prospective readers know that, unlike the
song, Goring lasts for three overs and not the obligatory two
balls, however small.
If you can find an inexpensive copy, you will have something in
your collection that will be unique.
Reviews by John Symons, editor of The Cricket
Society News Bulletin.
(From Journal of the Cricket Society, Volume 26, No. 3,
Autumn 2012, UK)