Scoop Review of Books


Poem of the Week

Recession by Mary Cresswell
From: Nearest and Dearest. Steele Roberts, to be published later this year.

On Lambton Quay the latte drips
from bravely stiffened upper lips

Mary Cresswell is a Wellington poet.


  1. Vivienne Joseph, 4. March 2009, 9:56

    I laughed out loud – an excellent and funny take on the Lambton Quay set. The first line is very witty indeed and the line scansion is impressive.
    Can’t wait for the book to be published and in the bookshops!

  2. Tina Regtien, 6. March 2009, 11:11

    Excellent….. the metaphor lives on ….crumbling castles….. salvage …..flotsam and jetsam. Brings to mind another comment on national radio this morning via Jack Lasenby describing crowds at rock/pop concerts as so many anenome waving their arms in unison.
    Such crisp fun.

  3. Chris Black, 7. March 2009, 17:45

    An absolutely positively delight read of Mary Cresswell’s mastpiece – with the usual wit and flair!

    While it is nigh on 10 yrs since I’ve worked on L/Quay, it Mary brought it all back – in a flash!

    Well done.
    An admirer, all the way from Singapore!

  4. scan man, 8. March 2009, 18:52

    In Flanders Fields

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from falling hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep,
    though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    John McCrae, May 1915

  5. Chana Gershom, 28. April 2009, 18:46

    Wonderful imagery that takes me back, both to Boulcott Street and Lambton Quay. Congratulations Mary! I look forward to getting my hands on a copy of your book.

  6. Richard Quinn, 29. April 2009, 12:16

    Stewart Dawson’s corner; Suzy’s coffee bar; Nimmos; ropes tied around that huge desert of a canyon corner at Taranaki/Courtenay/Cuba during Wellington ‘breezes.’. The Chez Paree; the Montmarte; the Green Parrot; the Duke of Ed; Cablecar Lane; Pigeon Park; El Matatador, the all-night burger bar by Central Fire Staion. Mt Vic. lookout. The smell of fresh-roasted peanuts wafting up the big wide marbled steps in ‘Wrightson’s on L/Quay. No parent with kids walked past there unscathed.

    The city spread below you as you come down Brooklyn Hill. Planes roraring fifty feet overhead as you go down Evans Bay Parade. Duck! Debris on the coastal roads after storms; Wahine Day (I kept a roof on at the Home of Compassion in Island Bay). The Town Belt. The horizontal tunnel in the hill up by Wellington Radio on Tinakori Hill. My kids loved that ‘haunted’ place.

    Kupe and co. in the old Railway Station. Meet you at James Smith’s Corner at 7. The Matterhorn. Evening Post boy screaming his wares outside the Post building on Willis Street. Grab a copy, off to Suzy’s for an injection of the world today/yyesterday. The Dom first thing in the morning. What we have now may be civilisation – but not as we knew it.

    Go back earlier … Lambton Quay. “Lily of the Valley; sweet Otaki violets; who’ll buy my flowers for a pretty lady?” I did. Quite often. All the men in suits – and hats; every one of them.

    March (then sit-down) protest marches against the Vietnam war. Hey, hey, LBJ: how many kids did you kill today?” And anti-rugby tour to SA marches. Capping Day; sheer, wonderful madness. Trams to Newtown. JKB barefoot and duffel-coated, long hair soaking wet, out on the town. A bit of a bludger at times. But good with it. And at it. Walking home to Newtown through ‘the Basin’ late at night.

    All the wide boys from Brierley’s out for lunch at Suzy’s…

    Wellington is not a place; it’s a state of mind. Or it was once, anyway.