A. R. D. Fairburn
The most various was Fairburn. He was a prolific controversialist, and much of his verse is polemical. Dominion, republished in Three Poems, 1952 (a flawed poem, but even Fairburn's flaws have value) was his most ambitious single work; it contains an analysis of New Zealand at once historical, sociological, and personal. Marx and Douglas cast heavy shadows across this verse; the technical debts owed to Eliot and Pound are sometimes too apparent. But at its centre lies a deeply felt joy in man and nature, and a sharply experienced grief at the perversions of history and society. There is a tension always present between the poet as hedonistic contemplative, at home with friends and with nature, and the poet as reformer, compelled to be an agitator by his conviction that society must be remade in the image of nature. His lyrics, many of them unusually strong and musical, are most readily found in Strange Rendezvous (1952).