This is Mark's blog.

Mark Pirie's poems published in The Cricket Society News Bulletin

In the May/June 2016 issue of The Cricket Society News Bulletin, I had a special brace of poems featured: Vale: Three Tributes (Brendon McCullum; Martin Crowe; and Phil Hughes) and Dreams, a poem about children at a cricket match.

It was a real honour and a coup to have my poems included.

The editor John Symons, who has been a strong supporter of my cricket poetry endeavours, wrote the following: “My sincere thanks to Mark. Poetry and cricket have always been intertwined but lately it seems that the art may be fading. It needs talents such as Mark’s to bring the two strands of our lives together and keep the flame alive.”

The Cricket Society formed in 1945, and its news bulletins go out to around 1800 members internationally. John Symons is also the MCC Cricket Book of the Year judge with a keen interest in poetry and literature. Fine praise indeed.

John has previously included my poetry in their journal and news bulletins.

Mark Pirie’s poem for Daniel Vettori published by Cricket Society

My poem, 'Daniel Vettori' appeared in the July/August edition of the Cricket Society News Bulletin in England and was included as part of the front page editorial by John Symons.

This publication coincided with the New Zealand cricket team’s tour of the UK, and followed on from Dan Vettori’s retirement from cricket at the conclusion of the 2015 World Cup final in Melbourne.

I, like many cricket followers internationally, will miss the sight of Dan on the cricket field.

My poem celebrates Dan’s contribution to the game. It was great to see it published somewhere prominent.

I wish him well for the future.

Cricket Society Journal reviews King Willow

A brief but very good mention of the book I edited, King Willow: Selected Poems by Robert J Pope, appeared in the latest issue of the Cricket Society's Journal:


Review of King Willow: Selected Poems by Robert J Pope edited by Mark Pirie

HeadworX Publishing web:

Mark Pirie is continuing to explore New Zealand literary history both old and new and here we have a selection of poems from a writer, Robert J Pope whose life (1865-1949) covered the birth of New Zealand cricket through to Walter Hadlee's determination on the post-war tour of England to be worthy of full-length Test Matches.

Although, well-regarded in his lifetime as with many poets, he became unfashionable although there now seems to be a reappraisal of his work. The selection from his work set out here contains only a single cricketing poem but his other work is well worth modern consideration. There is a wistful and elegiac tone to his war poetry - no drums and bugles and hurrahs - more sadness at lives lost and friends no longer to be greeted.

The only cricket poem "King Willow" was written to welcome in the 1932 season but there is a small section of cricket prose at the end of the book. I also liked his affectionate parody of W B Yeats in Billy's Tea which made me smile.

Not really enough perhaps to convince the cricket collector to add this to his library but Mark Pirie is ploughing a singular furrow as he explores the byways of New Zealand literature and deserves the praise that he is garnering. A writer and a publisher who are always worth seeking out.

(From The Journal of the Cricket Society, UK, Volume 26, No. 4, Spring 2013, p. 69-70).

Mark Pirie's A Tingling Catch in Cricket Society Journal

It was nice to find my anthology of cricket poetry, A Tingling Catch, mentioned in the Journal of the Cricket Society in London.

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 made-up broadcasters.
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)