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Hone Tuwhare Biography

(1922–2008), No Ordinary Sun, Sap-Wood and Milk, Something Nothing, Making a Fist of It

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Tre‐Taliesin Cardiganshire to Hilda Vaughan Biography

New Zealand Maori poet, born in Kaikohe, educated at technical colleges in Otahuhu, near Wellington. After army service he was a boilermaker and was active in union affairs and in politics. The title poem of his successful initial collection, No Ordinary Sun (1964), referred to atomic testing in the Pacific. Later collections include Sap-Wood and Milk (1972, illustrated by the Maori artist Ralph Hotere); Something Nothing (1974), which included an outstanding poem inspired by the death of ‘Hemi’, fellow poet James K. Baxter; and Making a Fist of It (1978; poems and short stories). Tuwhare published his Selected Poems in 1980 and Year of the Dog—Poems New and Selected in 1982. The volume Mihi: Collected Poems (1987, again illustrated by Ralph Hotere) allowed Tuwhare's poetic achievement to be properly assessed for the first time and demonstrated his great ability to evoke and question both traditional and contemporary Maori life through a sure sense of the speaking voice. Tuwhare's poetry included from the start a severe and accurate, if often wry, rendering of the contemporary industrial and labour life he knew at first hand. Short Back and Sideways (1992) is a later collection; Deep River Talk: Collected Poems appeared in 1994.

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