Leicester Spring, proprietor of the old Bay of Plenty Beacon and the Whakatane
Beacon of the last few years agreed to write the forward to this work. One time
Plunket Shield cricketer, the owner of Melbourne and Caulfield Cup winner, the
great Rising Fast and in his latter years involved with the racing industry
Leicester was also a good friend and good boss to Bill Whiteside. They had known
each other for half a lifetime. Sadly Leicester passed away before this work was
published in its present form.
I am indebted therefore to Mr Alistair Patterson for this evaluation and comment on my fathers work.
"I’ve just spent another hour or so looking through your father’s poems. I’ve done this a number of times, on each occasion trying to work out what I should say to you about his work. After this most recent reading of his work, perhaps I can now manage it.
Firstly, I believe your father to have been a highly intelligent, able, sensitive man – and a genuine and gifted poet. Much of the poetry he wrote is in the ‘occasional’ and social commentary style and many of the pieces would have been readily publishable as such in the newspapers and popular magazines at about the time in which they were written. This particular time – the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s and early 50’s was a period in which poetry was undergoing great changes and in New Zealand was dominated by poets such as Dennis Glover, A R D Fairburn, R A K Mason, Charles Brasch and the like. As poets, they had taken careful note of what was being written overseas, particularly in Britain by modernists like Spender. Isherwood, Auden etc, and their poetry was based on the work of these overseas writers.
Your father’s poetry tends to follow the writing that preceded this period and in small ways to reflect the methodology of the Australian ‘Bush balladeers’ – Lawson etc – but perhaps with a greater degree of seriousness and sophistication. In these terms I suspect your father either wasn’t reading the work of the poets about him, or checking on what overseas poets were doing. Alternatively (and perhaps you have the means of checking up on it) he may have known about what these other poets were doing, but preferred to go his own way.
Alistair Paterson, editor Poetry New Zealand