Harry Ricketts

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Harry Ricketts (born 1950) is a poet, biographer, editor, anthologist, critic, academic, literary scholar and cricket writer. He has written biographies of Rudyard Kipling[1] and of a dozen British First World War poets.[2]

Life[edit]

Ricketts was born in London in 1950. His father Jack (John) Ricketts was a career officer in the British Army, serving in World War II and in Malaya and Hong Kong in the 1950s.[3] Ricketts was brought up in London, Malaysia and Hong Kong.[4] He was educated first at a prep school in Kent and later at Wellington College, Berkshire.[5]

From an early age, Ricketts developed an interest in cricket and opened the bowling for two years for the Wellington College First XI.[6]

After school, Ricketts studied English at Oxford University completing a BA (1st Class Honours) and an MLitt on Kipling's short stories (1975).[7] He then taught at the University of Hong Kong (1974–1977) and the University of Leicester (1978–1981) before moving to New Zealand.[8] At Leicester, he knew the poet and critic G. S. Fraser and became friends with the poet Robert Wells.[9]

In 1981, Ricketts took up a lectureship in the English Department at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and for many years has run a Modern Poetry course, combining British, American and New Zealand poets.[10] In the 1990s he taught poetry workshops for the Continuing Education Centre at Victoria[11] and more recently has taught non-fiction and fiction writing courses for the IIML (International Institute of Modern Letters).[citation needed]

Literary output[edit]

Ricketts began writing poetry at school. At Oxford he was arts editor of the student newspaper Cherwell and wrote for the OSAC magazine, interviewing writers like John Wain.[12] In Hong Kong in the mid-1970s, he wrote short stories and blues songs.[citation needed]

During the 1980s, he started to publish academic work, such as an edition of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘lost’ New Zealand story "One Lady at Wairakei" (1983) and a valuable book of interviews with New Zealand poets, Talking about Ourselves (1986). This book introduced Ricketts to the New Zealand poetry scene, and he became friends with the Wellington poets Louis Johnson and Lauris Edmond.[13]

He also became involved with the New Zealand Poetry Society, edited anthologies for them, was President for a time in the late 1980s, and at Victoria encouraged his students through the student publication Writings and later JAAM magazine in the 1990s, a Victoria Writer's Club magazine that became international.[14]

He has since published further poetry collections: Plunge (2001), Your Secret Life (2005) and Just Then (2012), the latter published by Victoria University Press.[citation needed] His poetry has been included in many anthologies of New Zealand poetry.[citation needed] Roger Robinson comments on his poetry that: "Ricketts’ best are either deftly satiric 'light verse' … or wry commentaries on the perplexities of love, marriage or parenthood."[15]

Aside from his own literary writing, Ricketts has been an anthologist since the 1990s. His work in this field includes How You Doing?: A Selection of New Zealand Comic and Satiric Verse (1998), with Hugh Roberts, and a two-volume series of spiritual verse anthologies, co-edited with Paul Morris and Mike Grimshaw, before editing The Awa Book of New Zealand Sports Writing (2010). His sports anthology was one of the Best 100 Books of 2010 in the New Zealand Listener.[16]

A Wall Street Journal reviewer observed of The Unforgiving Minute that: 'of all the Kipling biographies, Harry Ricketts is the most balanced.'[17] The New Yorker reviewer in turn noted that 'Ricketts, a poet, is invaluable in analysing the subtleties and the modernist techniques that went into Kipling's popular, accessible work.'[18]

In 2010, with Paula Green, he co-authored the poetry primer 99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry (2010). He has also contributed scholarly entries to the Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature, reviewed books for Radio New Zealand National, acted as a theatre critic for the New Zealand Listener (1998–2007), and co-edited the review journal New Zealand Books since the late 1998.[19]

Publications by Harry Ricketts[edit]

Anthologies[edit]

  • How You Doing?: A Selection of New Zealand Comic and Satiric Verse, with Hugh Roberts, Lincoln University Press/Daphne Brasell Associates Press/Whitireia Publishing, Wellington, New Zealand, 1998.
  • Spirit in a Strange Land: A Selection of New Zealand Spiritual Verse, with Mike Grimshaw and Paul Morris, Random House/Godwit, Auckland, New Zealand, 2002. (Winner of the Montana Anthology and reference section 2003.)
  • Spirit Abroad: A Second Selection of New Zealand Spiritual Verse, with Mike Grimshaw and Paul Morris, Random House/Godwit, Auckland, New Zealand, 2004.
  • The Awa Book of New Zealand Sports Writing, Awa Press, Wellington, New Zealand, 2010.
  • Running Writing Robinson (Festschrift for Professor Roger Robinson), with David Carnegie, Paul Millar, David Norton, Victoria University Press, Wellington, New Zealand, 2011.

Biographies[edit]

  • The Unforgiving Minute: A Life of Rudyard Kipling, Pimlico, London, UK, 1999. ISBN 0701137444

(published in the USA as Rudyard Kipling: A Life, Carroll & Graf, New York City, 2000. ISBN 0786707119[20]

Poetry[edit]

  • Coming under Scrutiny, Original Books, Wellington, New Zealand, 1989.
  • Coming Here, Nagare Press, Palmerston North, New Zealand, 1989
  • A Brief History of New Zealand Literature, Fawthorpe Garlick, Wellington, New Zealand, c.1996.
  • How Things Are, with Adrienne Jansen, Meg Campbell and J C Sturm, Whitireia Publishing, Wellington, New Zealand, 1996.
  • 13 Ways, Pemmican Press, Wellington, New Zealand, 1997.
  • Nothing to Declare: Selected Writings 1977–1997, HeadworX Publishers, Wellington, New Zealand, 1998.
  • Plunge, Pemmican Press, Wellington, New Zealand, 2001.
  • Your Secret Life, HeadworX Publishers, Wellington, New Zealand, 2005.
  • Just Then, Victoria University Press, Wellington, New Zealand, 2012.

Fiction[edit]

  • People Like Us: Sketches of Hong Kong, Eurasia Publishing Corp., Hong Kong, 1977.

Non-fiction/criticism[edit]

  • How to Live Elsewhere, Four Winds Press, Wellington, New Zealand, 2004.
  • How to Catch a Cricket Match, Awa Press, Wellington, New Zealand, 2006.
  • 99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry, Random House/Vintage, Auckland, New Zealand, 2010.

Edited[edit]

  • One Lady at Wairakei, Rudyard Kipling, Mallinson Rendel, Wellington, New Zealand, 1983.
  • Talking About Ourselves: Twelve New Zealand Poets in Conversation with Harry Ricketts, Mallinson Rendel, Wellington, New Zealand, 1986.
  • Worlds of Katherine Mansfield, Nagare Press, Palmerston North, New Zealand, 1991; 1992 2nd edition.
  • Under Review: A Selection from New Zealand Books 1991–1996, with Bill Sewell and Lauris Edmond, Lincoln University Press/Daphne Brasell Associates Press, Lincoln, New Zealand, 1997.
  • The Long Trail: Selected Poems, Rudyard Kipling, Carcanet, Manchester, UK, 2004.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elizabeth Lowry, "The Unforgiving Minute – A life of Rudyard Kipling", Times Literary Supplement, Times, London, (5003), 1999, pp. 3–4
  2. ^ Andrew Motion, Guardian (UK) online, Saturday 13 November 2010 https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/nov/13/strange-meetings-poets-war-review" \t "_blank" https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/nov/13/strange-meetings-poets-war-review; and Jonathan Beckman, New Statesman (UK) online, 18 November 2010. http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2010/11/war-poets-poetry-sassoon" \t "_blank" http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2010/11/war-poets-poetry-sassoon
  3. ^ Harry Ricketts, "Snapshots of my Father", in Sons of the Fathers, edited by Bill Sewell (North Shore City, N.Z., Tandem Press, 1997).
  4. ^ 4 Roger Robinson, Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 467.
  5. ^ Harry Ricketts, How to Live Elsewhere (Four Winds Press, Wellington, 2004).
  6. ^ Harry Ricketts, "Snapshots of my Father", in Sons of the Fathers, edited by Bill Sewell (North Shore City, N.Z., Tandem Press, 1997).
  7. ^ Robinson, p. 467.
  8. ^ Harry Ricketts, How to Live Elsewhere (Four Winds Press, Wellington, 2004).
  9. ^ Harry Ricketts, "Three Poems for George Fraser" in Nothing to Declare (HeadworX Publishers, Wellington, 1998).
  10. ^ Robinson, p. 467.
  11. ^ Publisher's Preface in Nothing to Declare (HeadworX Publishers, Wellington, 1998).
  12. ^ Harry Ricketts, Just Then (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2012).
  13. ^ Harry Ricketts, "Reading between the Lines" in Nothing to Declare (HeadworX Publishers, Wellington, 1998).
  14. ^ JAAM website
  15. ^ Robinson, p. 467.
  16. ^ 16 "The 100 best books of 2010" in New Zealand Listener, 11 December 2010, Issue 3683.
  17. ^ Additional Information for Harry Ricketts, New Zealand Book Council author profile
  18. ^ Additional Information for Harry Ricketts, New Zealand Book Council author profile
  19. ^ New Zealand Books website
  20. ^ Lewis, Lisa (16 Jan 2008). "Kipling's biographers". Kipling Society. Retrieved 29 January 2018. 

External links[edit]