Field Officer's Notebook, A: Dan Davin
Field Officer's Notebook, A: Dan Davin is available to buy in increments of 1
A FIELD OFFICER’S NOTEBOOK makes the poetry of writer, editor & publisher Dan Davin available to the general reader for the first time. Davin’s is an authentic and compelling voice and his war poems stand comparison with the finest poetry to have come out of World War 2.
|Date Published||10th May 2018|
|Publisher||Cold Hub Press|
Dan Davin looms large in New Zealand literary & military history. He was born in Invercargill in 1913, graduated from Otago University with honours in English and Latin, and won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in 1936. In the Second World War he fought with the 2nd New Zealand Division, later writing the acclaimed Crete volume of the Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War. Much of his post-war life was devoted to the Oxford University Press where he became deputy secretary and academic publisher, that is to say in charge of academic publishing under the renowned Clarendon Press imprint. He wrote seven novels, several collections of short stories & CLOSING TIMES, a highly regarded volume of memoirs of his writer-friends (including Dylan Thomas, Louis MacNeice, Enid Starkie & Joyce Cary). For more than thirty years, he was an informal ambassador for New Zealand letters in Britain, and his friendships, connections and reviews in the TLS did much to bring New Zealand writers to a larger public. He died in Oxford in 1990. Dan Davin also wrote poetry: during the mid-to-late 1930s while at university in New Zealand and England; during the Second World War while on service in Greece, North Africa, and Italy; and, after his retirement from the Clarendon Press, in Oxford and in nearby Dorchester in the mid-eighties. A mere handful of these poems were published during his lifetime. Most have been sourced from manuscripts and notebooks held at the Turnbull Library in Wellington, New Zealand, and are available to the general reader for the first time. Davin’s war poems, says editor Robert McLean, “stand comparison with the finest poetry to have come out of that conflict” and are “beautiful for all their ugliness and despair”. Many of the poems of his “late period” revisit the battlefields he’d fought in forty years before; some revisit the days of his youth in New Zealand; some explore his Irishness; while others, recording the “fighting withdrawal” of his final years, “on an age-old-anvil wince and sing”. Many were left unpolished, the soul’s anguished cries in the nighttime. Reading A FIELD OFFICER’S NOTEBOOK we are asked to “sit quietly and listen to a man’s voice witnessing of the underworld from which he all but failed to return.” It is an authentic and compelling voice.