Leicester Kyle. Koroneho: Joyful News Out Of The New Found World. Edited with a Introduction by Jack Ross. Preface by Ian St George. ISBN 978-0-9876604-0-4. Auckland: The Leicester Kyle Literary Estate / Wellington: The Colenso Society, 2011. ii + 110 pp.
Ian St George: Preface
Jack Ross: Introduction
- Section 1: Earina alba
- Section 2: Bulbophyllum ichthyostomum
- Section 3: Dendrobium lessonii
- Section 4: Corysanthes hypogaea
- Section 5: Microtis longifolia
- Section 6: Caladenia variegata
- Section 7: Gastrodia leucopetala
- Section 8: Microtis papillosa
- Section 9: Orthoceras caput-serpentis
- Section 10: Pterostylis patens
- Section 11: Prasophyllum variegatum
- Section 12: Thelymitra purpureo-fusca
- Section 13: Pterostylis subsimilis
- Section 14: Pterostylis tristis
- Afterword (2001)
Joyful News Out Of The New Found World.
Leicester Kyle's Koroneho is an epic poem about botany. Taking as his subject matter the life and explorations of pioneer missionary, printer, and naturalist William Colenso (1811-1899) – whose Māori name was “Koroneho” – Kyle expertly weaves letters, historical details, and the language of botanical description into a strangely compelling mixture (a little like that other long Modernist poem “containing history”: Ezra Pound’s Cantos).
The Rev. Leicester Kyle (1937-2006) was in many ways a fitting match for the object of his fascination, Colenso. Trained as a botanist, he entered the Anglican Church in his twenties, only to take early retirement in his fifties after converting to a new religion: poetry. His fascination with L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E School poetics was succeeded by a more relaxed sense of the indigenous and anecdotal in the work written after his move to Millerton on the West Coast in the late 1990s.
Edited by Jack Ross. Preface by Ian St George. ISBN 978-0-9876604-0-4. Auckland: The Leicester Kyle Literary Estate / Wellington: The Colenso Society, 2011.
When poet, priest and environmental activist Leicester Kyle died in 2006, he asked poet David Howard and myself to act as his literary executors. In accordance with the trust he placed in us, a website has now been set up which we hope will (eventually) contain all of his extant work in electronic form, together with critical material. The first major unpublished text I posted online was Kyle’s patchwork verse epic Koroneho, about the life and work of pioneering nineteenth-century botanist and missionary William Colenso.
This print publication of the poem has been undertaken at the instigation of Ian St George of the Colenso Society, who has also contributed a preface and a cover design. It consists of a reading edition of the online text, edited with an introduction by me. The design of the book is intended to evoke Colenso’s own paperback publications, from his pioneer printing press in Paihia.
Leicester Kyle Literary Estate
c/o 6A Hastings Rd
The Colenso Society Inc.
c/o 22 Orchard St.
Reviews & Comments:
- Debbie Ormsby, "News and Events." School of English and Media Studies Homepage (16/11/11):
New Publication: Leicester Kyle. Koroneho: Joyful News Out Of The New Found World by Jack Ross
- Jen Crawford, "Transplanting Colenso: Taxonomy and Translocation in Leicester Kyle’s Koroneho: Joyful News Out of the New Found World." Cordite Poetry Review 51: Transtasman (1/8/15):
Koroneho is dialogic, and also calls for a nuanced understanding of the nature of the linguistically creative act, tempering what might otherwise become the taxonomist’s hubris. In an imperative voice that can be read as the poet’s or Koroneho’s, but is most likely God’s, an earlier page enjoins the addressee to
Remember this: the subject’s always right, in itself correct. All living things are accurate, with own centricity. … A name codes recognition, but does not make identity, nor signify lightly. (58)To mistake the taxonomist’s work – or the poet’s – as creative of identity ex nihilo is here posited as a spiritual error, a failure to recognise the quiddity or ‘centricity’ of individual identity. For Colenso, taxonomic genesis also often involved creating classifications for plants that already had a recognised identity in another language – either Te Reo Māori or botanical Latin. Although Colenso was, at times, naming and classifying plants that had not previously been identified in either language, he was also at times naming anew species that he had misidentified, or whose existing Linnaean classifications he was unaware of. Such errors of semiotic reinvention ‘can cause difficulties,’ writes Kyle.