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Kendrick Smithyman (William Kendrick Smithyman) Biography

(1922–1995), (William Kendrick Smithyman), Seven Sonnets, Inheritance, Flying to Palmerston North, Dwarf with a Billiard Cue

poet university poems teacher

New Zealand poet, born in Northland, educated at Auckland University and Teacher's College. He was a primary school teacher before becoming a tutor at Auckland University. Described as a poet craftsman and, in Auden's phrase, as a ‘contriver of verbal contraptions’, Smithyman's volumes of poetry include Seven Sonnets (1946), Inheritance (1962), Flying to Palmerston North (1968), Dwarf with a Billiard Cue (1978), Are You Going to the Pictures? (1987), Selected Poems (1989), and Auto/Biographies (1992). His poems explore themes of history and geography, obsessively embracing the detail of local events and the ironies of their juxtaposition; their form is characterized by complex syntax, a love of curious vocabulary, and elaboration. A compassionate tone and wry humour accompany what some critics have seen as excesses of detail. A Way of Saying (1965) is a collection of essays focusing on New Zealand poetry.

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