freepost per copy
Publication date: 30 October 2022
OUT OF THE JAWS OF WESLEY :
1944–1972 a record
selected & edited by Roger Hickin
with a foreword by John Gibb
Softcover, 112 pp, 210 x 148mm
Cold Hub Press ~ Peter Olds
We flew like Methodist lunatics down Shetland Street
(Davy Crockett hats flying),
out of the jaws of Wesley
on our home-made trolleys . . .
Out of the Jaws of Wesley––a Peter Olds miscellany which includes much previously unpublished material––records in word and image his sometimes tortured progress from Methodist boy to bodgie to poet. Prose sketches and poems look back to his childhood in the 1940s and 50s in mid-Canterbury, South Otago and Dunedin, and to his late teens as an Auckland V8 boy. By the mid-1960s he has discovered the Beat writers and over the next few years forms a close bond with poet James K. Baxter. Letters to his parents are frank about his mental health and addictions, and speak of his growing sense of vocation as a poet: “Even tho I know I’m not going to make money, I find I like more and more the tools I am working with . . . being (I think) a socialist, wishing in my own way to point the finger and make what would otherwise be buried known to the public.” His reputation increases as he is published in university student journals, prints his own broadsheets, edits and illustrates a literary page in the Otago University student paper Critic, and designs book covers for Trevor Reeves’ Caveman Press––which publishes several pamphlets of his poems. The record ends in 1972, the year Baxter dies, and his first full poetry collection––Lady Moss Revived––appears. Peter Olds was a Robert Burns fellow at the University of Otago in 1978, and in 2005 was the first recipient of the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry.