new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

A Public Conversation

Young Knowledge: a public conversation

On Friday 26 October 2012, Auckland Central City Library hosted a public conversation about Robin Hyde’s poem 'Young Knowledge' (1936), with Murray Edmond, Michele Leggott, Mary Paul, Iain Sharp and Ian Wedde, 2011-13 New Zealand Poet Laureate (poster).

The event was produced for the National Library of New Zealand’s series of events in the New Zealand Poet Laureate programme, in partnership with Auckland Central Library and the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc).

In 1936, the poet Robin Hyde travelled in the South Island, including parts of the West Coast explored by Charles Heaphy in 1846. Hyde wrote ‘Young Knowledge’ with the journals of Heaphy in mind. Her poem opens up an imaginative and political space between the stone memorial to the explorer in Nelson, and the pounamu of Arahura.

"It is a brilliant moment; the explorer refracted through his journal, standing between worlds and made over into poetry." Michele Leggott, from Introduction to Young Knowledge: The Poems of Robin Hyde (Auckland University Press, 2003)

Murray Edmond is a poet, and has written about Hyde’s use of Charles Heaphy’s journal. Michele Leggott is a former New Zealand Poet Laureate, and the editor of Robin Hyde’s collected poems. Mary Paul is the editor of Your Unselfish Kindness (University of Otago Press, 2012), a critical edition of Robin Hyde’s autobiographical writings. Iain Sharp is a poet and the author of Heaphy (Auckland University Press, 2008), an illustrated biography of the explorer. (Recording and editing of audio by Tim Page).

  • Introduction and Reading of Poem
    (mp3: 11MB)
  • Panellists' Commentaries
    (mp3: 40MB)

  • Discussion and Response
    (mp3: 17MB)

  • Full recording
    (mp3: 70MB)

Poet Laureate Blog - Ian Wedde


Young Knowledge : The Text and its History

There are two extant typescripts for ‘Young Knowledge,’ both from 1936 and typed on a paper watermarked Coral Bond. The first is signed and complete. The second is incomplete, finishing with the section based on Edward Markham’s journal.

The poem was not published in Hyde’s lifetime, appearing first in 1952 in Houses by the Sea and the later Poems of Robin Hyde, edited by Gloria Rawlinson. Rawlinson’s version splices one typescript into the other, an editorial move that is difficult to accept since there is no Hyde typescript to justify it.

When the poem was published again in 2003 in Young Knowledge: The Poems of Robin Hyde I opted for the complete, signed typescript as copytext. It is of course interesting to compare this with the more ornate incomplete typescript, and to note variants in each that, taken together, give us an augmented view of the poem.

Michele Leggott


Young KNowledge Complete typescript 1936

Young Knowledge
complete typescript 1936 (PDF)

Young Knowledge incomplete typescript

Young Knowledge
incomplete typescript 1936 (PDF)
Houses BY the Sea -cover

Young Knowledge 1952
Young Knowledge 2003

Young Knowledge 2003


Last updated 18 October, 2012