Ursula Bethell, 1874–1945
One of the most frequently repeated comments about Ursula Bethell’s poetry is that of D’Arcy Cresswell, who remarked, in his Landfall tribute, that ‘New Zealand wasn’t truly discovered ... until Ursula Bethell, ‘very earnestly digging’, raised her head to look at the mountains. Almost everyone had been blind before’. It is, of course, at best a partial truth, but it does convey something of her importance as one of the first wholly accomplished and distinctive voices in New Zealand poetry, and it rightly places her at the beginning of modern New Zealand poetry.
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