Story: Arts and the nation

Wisps of tussock

David McKee Wright was one of the few late 19th-century New Zealand poets who wrote about the life of the backblocks. This copy of his collection Wisps of tussock has an inscription written by Labour MP John A. Lee in which he notes that Wright (who is pictured on the facing page) 'left three families of red headed children who probably all feel he was disgraceful and much beautiful verse.'  Lee's enthusiasm for Wright's verse was understandable, since Lee was himself a cultural nationalist who later wrote stories about rural characters, especially the tramp Shiner Slattery.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: David McKee Wright, Wisps of Tussock. Oamaru: Andrew Fraser, 1900 (MS-Papers-7984-1)

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

David McKee Wright, Wisps of Tussock. Oamaru: Andrew Fraser, 1900

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How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Arts and the nation - Cultural nationalism, 1890 to 1910', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/interactive/45003/wisps-of-tussock (accessed 16 December 2019)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 22 Oct 2014