Remembering Hone Tuwhare

posted by Michele
Tributes, thoughts and memories of Hone Tuwhare are in the links and posts below. I will be adding more links and posts to this post as I receive them.


Jack Ross said...

Dear Michele,

Great site! Nice to see it up and already bursting at the seams with interesting info.

The link to my Hone Tuwhare obituary is:


The one you've put up is to the Imaginary Museum blog in general, which grows and accretes weekly(in theory, at least) ...

Michele Leggott said...

hello Jack

thanks for the correction. the link is now pointing where it should. happy reading!

Raewyn Alexander said...

Great to see this Michele,
All the best with laureating.

Address for my Hone Tuwhare tribute is here -

Hope 2008 is excellent,

Richard Taylor said...

This looks a great site!

A slight correction (to Raewyn's comment on her site) - I worked at the Railway Workshops in 1969 - Hone (who I met at the AU) said he worked there in 1929 - ok I am 60 he was 86 ! - he was a boilermaker at that time (~ 1929) BTW. He was strong socialist - influenced by R A K Mason one of my favourite poems is the one in his first book "No Ordinary Sun" when he talks about working by the door...

When I met Hone I immediately felt I liked this man - whether he felt the same I don't know - I saw him a few more times but - although I would have liked to get to know him - it didn't happen.

His poetry is very great.

Richard Taylor said...

Unfort. I have to correct my correction! Obviously Hone must have been at the Railway Workshops in 1939. Thus he was probably doing an apprenticeship at age 17 (not at the precocious age of 7!) and writing on the sides of the railway wagons - as we all did...although I didn't write poetry much at the time myself.

Hone said he wrote poetry on the wagons (in chalk -everyone did - give someone chalk and they will try to find somewhere to write or scribble)) and one day someone asked him who he thought he was, Shakespear? His quick reply was: "Who'se Shakespear?" We both laughed at that. It occurs to me now he was either taking the piss out of the person commenting on his poetic effort or he really didn't know who Shakespear was (Of course he would have come to know him and many more poets as he developed as writer) - but both scenarios would have been funny to us -

Either that for a poet of Hone's abilty and kind he didn't need to know any Shakespear or who he was; any more than Shakespear needed to know who Shakespear was (and indeed, Shakespear died too many centuries early to know who he himself was, and thus need to know his own works and learn from himself how to be a great poet)) to write his great works. (He (Hone) did read the bible as boy I recall

Or that he was taking the piss and did know ... but the joke is in the idea of a poet not knowing who Shakespear was...although even today there are probably millions of educated people - but hopefully not English speakers - who don't know who Shakespear is or was...and at one time Shakespear was relatively unknown except in England - partic. London. And as I say - for about 200 years at least he would not have been able to know himself - at least as we know him - or think we know him...Joyce - in his ridiculous if clever "argument as Dedalus" (deliberately satirical of himself [or his alter ego] I suspect) 'argues', in a chapter of Ulysses, that Shakespear was the father of Hamlet / through Hamnet and by a further weird logic or illogic he murdered (himself?)....but here I find I have lost myself.

Richard Taylor said...

I am reading some Hone Tuwhare poems now - they are not as I would write - but it is interesting to see the way he had this endless "conversation" with himself!

Also he addresses all kinds of people and things in direct or metaphorical ways - his earthiness, his risque, balanced by wit and sometimes profundity - he is never sentimental or maudlin - sometimes the method is cumbersome - but overall he produced some very vital and interesting works - the obvious ex. being 'No Ordinary Sun' and also his unique chuckling and talking and "fussing" - he is sometimes almost squabbling with himself - and there are moments of great emotion also. Unique.