Author(s): Robin Hyde (ed Michelle Leggott)
The Book of Nadath" is a long prose poem by well-known poet and novelist Robin Hyde which has remained unpublished for 60 years. Written in 1937, Hyde's last year in New Zealand, it is a sounding device for all the concerns which mark "The Godwits Fly", "A Home in This World" and "Nor the Years Condemn". It is among Hyde's most brilliant works, a poem of exceptional lyric beauty and moving personal grief, and arguably the crowning achievement of her poetry. It consists of 14 sections in which the central figure of a false prophet observes and is implicated in scenes ranging from the decolonizing inheritance of New Zealand to the imminence of another war and possible conquest; but the moment of 1937 is its primary focus, the problem of how to articulate crisis - which writing voice best serves political and spiritual truth -is its enduring fascination. The publication of this poem, with the assistance of Leggott's introduction and textual notes, will significantly shift our assessment of Hyde's achievement.