‘Homing in’ on Poet Laureate Cilla McQueen’s literary archive

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | No Comments


Cilla McQueen is one of New Zealand’s major and much lauded poets. Her first volume of poetry, ‘Homing In’, was published in 1982 and since this time she has published eleven volumes of poetry, several of them award winners. Themes including landscape, loss, homeland, displacement and colonisation infuse her evocative writing.

In 2009 she was appointed Poet Laureate for 2009-2011 and in 2010 her most recent volume of poetry ‘The Radio Room’ was published.
McQueen has held the University of Otago’s Burns Fellowship for 1985 and 1986, a Fulbright Visiting Writers’ Fellowship to Stanford University in 1985 and a Goethe Institut Scholarship to Berlin, in 1991 she was awarded the QEII Arts Council Scholarship in Letters. She has also won the New Zealand Book Award three times. McQueen received an honorary doctorate in literature from the University of Otago in 2009. In 2012 she received a Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement (Poetry).
McQueen is also an accomplished and popular performer of her poetry.
MS-2400/058, MS-3247/220, MS-3247/275

McQueen’s archives, held at the Hocken Collections, contain a rich variety of papers including manuscript poetry and plays, correspondence, sound recordings and photographs

Blog post prepared by Debbie Gale, Arrangement and Description Archivist

Baptists and best sellers on the Taieri

Monday, February 7th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | 1 Comment

Photographs and a short manuscript from the archives of the Mosgiel Baptist Church (AG-263/023, AG-263/053 and AG-263/054).

F.W. Boreham (1871-1959) is not widely known today, but in his time he sold over a million books.  Frank Boreham arrived in New Zealand from England in 1895 to become the first minister of Mosgiel Baptist Church. The young man quickly proved himself as a successful and popular preacher, pastor and writer. His sermons appeared in the Taieri Advocate and he became a regular contributor of leading articles to the Otago Daily Times. He also edited the New Zealand Baptist.  The first of his several dozen books was published before he left England, to be followed by The Whisper of God and Other Sermons, published in 1902. Many of his books were devotional in character, but they also included charming tales of people and places he had known. Boreham moved to Australia in 1906. He retained fond memories of his first pastorate in Mosgiel, which featured in some of his later books. For instance, the booklet The Bachelors of Mosgiel (1936) is a “collection of unusual love stories of crusty old bachelors never suspected of having any.” Boreham’s writing might be dismissed as simple and sentimental today, but it was also engaging, as the opening of The Home of the Echoes (1921) reveals:

Hester Spanton – Auntie Hester, as everybody called her – was the tenant of a large second-hand store and a small asthmatic body. I used at times to think that the adjectives might be regarded as interchangeable. If you had described her as the occupant of an asthmatic store and a second-hand body, the terms would have seemed perfectly congruous and fitting. Her poor little body looked a very second-hand affair. It was terribly the worse for wear, and was so battered and broken that Auntie Hester could only crawl about by the aid of a crutch. It gave you the impression that it had been bought and sold over and over again, and that, having got it cheaply, none of its owners had taken any care of it.

The Merry Man of Mosgiel, published by Epworth Press, London, 1936.

There is a special F.W. Boreham collection at the Mosgiel Library (described by Barbara Frame in the March 2005 issue of New Zealand Libraries), and another at Carey Baptist College in Auckland. But southerners who wish to know more of one of the best-selling authors of the early twentieth century may like to start with a perusal of the 59 individual Boreham titles held by the Hocken (some in more than one edition).  Also available at the Hocken are the Taieri Advocate and Otago Daily Times, which feature Boreham’s early journalism, and the archives of the Mosgiel Baptist Church.

Blog post prepared by Ali Clarke, Library Assistant – Reference.

Bringing it Home installation

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 | Anna Blackman | 1 Comment

The aim with most exhibitions is to appear effortless, as if artworks, text panels and display shelves simply appeared on the gallery walls. The many hours of hard work put in to achieve this result can therefore remain hidden. This post offers a glimpse behind-the-scenes at the installation of Bringing it Home, which has just opened at the Hocken Gallery and celebrates the centenary of the Home Science/Consumer and Applied Science department at the University of Otago.

Jane Malthus, one of the curators for the exhibition, here finishes the work of designer Ryan Gallagher and pins the last of 500 student ID photos to the wall. Each had been individually scanned from originals, printed, trimmed and pinned to create an impressive grid of faces, an artistic installation in itself.

In a first for the Hocken, we now have a kitchen installed in the gallery! While it appears to have been lifted straight out of a 1960s-era home, it was in fact built from scratch by Bill Ingram, Design Studies’ expert technician, and curator Michael Findlay. Having figured out the logistics of mounting the life-sized (and ‘life-weight’) cabinets, they were then filled with kitchen items of the 60s and 70s (kindly lent by the Consumer Food Science department and Michael Findlay).

These are just a few aspects of this fascinating exhibition, that also includes original clothing items made by students, Tom Esplin’s lecture slides for his art appreciation lectures, film footage from 1961, Design Studies technical equipment dating back to 1987, graduate profiles, photographs and more!

Come and enjoy the show, on until 5 March upstairs in the Hocken Gallery. Blog post prepared by Lucy Clark, Registrar.