Notes from the Margins: The West Coast’s Peter Hooper by Pat White (Frontiers Press,
2017), 202 pp., $40
Peter Hooper (1919–1991) spent most his life in Westland, but travelled far by means of literature. His adult life was lived alone, but he was not a loner. He embedded himself (with reservations) in the community of the Greymouth district and had a professional life as a conscientious and imaginative secondary teacher. In this role he mentored many students, nudging them in the direction of literature and ideas. One of these was Pat White, the author of this portrait.
White has done us a favour by placing Hooper before us. Despite having lived (almost literally) to one side of the main literary developments here, Hooper was and still is of interest and relevance. To the generations born after 1945 he might seem a bit prim, even conservative in personal style, and definitely not up with the game of postmodern critical theory. As a writer he was in the main a Modernist with Romantic antecedents, and he was happy to acknowledge the prophetic American, Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), as the most powerful influence on him philosophically. [Read more…]