Story: Non-fiction

The poet's progress

The poet's progress

The self-confident D'Arcy Cresswell described his journey to England to forge a career as a poet, against family advice, in The poet's progress (1930). Of the need to escape New Zealand, he wrote: 'There was scarcely any who held my ambitions to be well founded, but only Ronald, my greatest friend, and a few more; and none of these had known me long. But those who had known me longest thought my pretensions absurd. That I might succeed as a writer of prose they did not deny; indeed they urged me to develop this gift however I might, and write poetry in my spare time; and no doubt God created the Universe in His spare time, at least in six days, and they must have been thinking of that. Poets, at any rate, have no spare time; and idleness, that is the curse of other men, is the nurse of poets, upon my word. Therefore I paid no attention to their advice. You cannot advise a hen how to lay eggs; nor any creature that creates.' 

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: Walter D’Arcy Cresswell, The poet’s progress. London: Faber & Faber, 1930 (B-K-1069-FRONTIS; B-K-1069-TITLE)
Artwork by William Rothenstein

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.

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How to cite this page:

Alex Calder, 'Non-fiction - Becoming at home', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 1 June 2023)

Story by Alex Calder, published 22 Oct 2014