Why does takahē publish reviews? Because, like the content of the magazine, reviews reflect on the creative and critical endeavours of our various and varied communities. And why do the reviewers write the reviews? Certainly not for the kudos or the coin! No. In keeping with takahē’s mission, reviewers keep the reflective conversations amongst us – writers, readers, listeners and publishers – flowing. And why do YOU read reviews? Please feel free to add to this conversation – firstname.lastname@example.org
At their best, reviewers are a generous and searching breed, eyes and ears attentively tuned to the themes, aims and intentions plied by diverse writers. They will comb a text and – frequently scrutinising the wider context – proceed to compare and critique it against earlier works by the author concerned, and/or with works by other writers. In doing so, reviewers will often snare our attention, prompt questions and promote curiosity about a writer’s goals and progress. Indeed a considered review can function in many ways. Most reviewers aim to share and inform with their findings. Their observations and evaluations may encourage writers and foster dialogue. Their critiques can also operate like open letters to publishers concerning not only content, but also matters of editing and design. How many layouts (be it of poetry, prose or academia) achieve alliances of form and content? For some effective collaborations of content and design have a look at the number of small presses reviewed in takahē 86, particularly Giant Sparrow Press (Wellington) and the Black Doris Press (Port Chalmers).
Like the distinctive current of contemporary writing, the little and large world of Aotearoa New Zealand publishing has matured significantly, at long last addressing silences and imbalances and genuinely embracing diversities and differences. In a world that has (as that man said) neither certitude nor peace, let’s hope these ‘conversations’ continue to flow and increase.