This is Mark's blog.

Poetry NZ reviews Robert J Pope

An excellent review of the book I edited by Robert J Pope recently appeared in Poetry NZ 47 (August 2013):


King Willow, Selected Poems, Robert J Pope, edited Mark Pirie (HeadworX Publishers 4C/19 Cottleville Tce, Thorndon, Wellington; 192 pp) is a scholarly piece of research - a timely and substantial publication. It presents much of the work of Robert J Pope (1865-1949) who had largely dropped out of sight and might otherwise have remained so, as have many other poets who preceded Allen Curnow's 1945 A Book of New Zealand Verse and became overwhelmed by the latter's new orthodoxy. In this respect, Mark Pirie has done stupendous work in rediscovering him (as he has many other writers) and bringing him back into notice. Pope certainly deserves such discovery and recognition. A long term and substantial writer, he 'deserves' as Pirie says, 'recognition ... as a significant precursor to the urban 1950s Wellington Group'. This is an enlightening and extremely worthwhile publication.

Copies of King Willow can be purchased from me directly using the contact form on this website.

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).

HeadworX republishes forgotten NZ poet Robert J Pope

My publishing company HeadworX has just released a new edition of early New Zealand author and songwriter Robert J Pope's poetry, King Willow, a substantial edition with accompanying introduction, notes and bibliographical material.

Robert J Pope (1865-1949) is a Wellington poet of interest for his poems covering the two world wars and the All Blacks "Invincibles" tour of 1924/25 as well as suburban satires of Wellington city-life (fashion, sport, politics and culture 1902-44) that still ring true today.

See the book information page here for more details.

Copies can be purchased from me directly using the contact form on this website.

A report on the book launch was on Beattie's Book Blog, 6 December 2012.