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Alistair Te Ariki Campbell Biography

(1925– ), Mine Eyes Dazzle, Sanctuary of Spirits, Wild Honey, Blue Rain, The Dark Lord of Savaiki

New Zealand poet, born in the Cook Islands in the Pacific, the son of a New Zealand trader and a Cook Island Maori, educated at Otago and Victoria Universities. At the age of seven, after the death of his parents, he was sent to Dunedin, in Otago, New Zealand, where he was raised in a less privileged environment, spending some years in an orphanage. His early poems, on themes of grieving and loss and marked by their intense use of natural imagery, were published in Mine Eyes Dazzle (1950), Sanctuary of Spirits (1964), Wild Honey (1964), and Blue Rain (1967). Campbell was married in the 1950s to the poet Fleur Adcock and latterly to the poet Meg Campbell. Since the late 1970s, his poetry has been increasingly influenced by his reuniting with his Cook Island relatives. The landscape of The Dark Lord of Savaiki (1980) is of Tongareva—the landcrabs, mangoes, sandsharks, and coral of a Pacific island, and these poems are also marked by an increasing use of Polynesian references and language. Collected Poems (1981) was followed by Soul Traps (1985) and Stone Rain: The Polynesian Strain (1992). Campbell has also written radio plays and published an autobiography, Island to Island (1984). His novels include The Frigate Bird (1989) and Sidewinder (1991), which draw on his sense of mixed cultural loyalties and roots as Polynesian and New Zealander; and Tia (1993).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Burghers of Calais to Peter Carey Biography