Trevor Reeves (1940-2013): Poet, Editor, Publisher, Activist

I was saddened to hear this week of the death of Trevor Reeves. Here is the notice I received:

Trevor Reeves (1940-2013) was an anarchic and unsung hero of NZ poetry and publishing. In the early 70’s he taught himself to handset type and, using an old platen press he founded Caveman Press and printed and published many of NZ’s most beloved poets – JK Baxter, Hone Tuwhare, Peter Olds, Alan Loney and many many more. As a graphic designer, writer, poet, editor, reviewer, book importer, publisher and more he was responsible for producing scores of poetry, prose, fiction, non fiction, magazines, online editions and reviews of both NZ and international writers. As Square One Press and Southern Ocean Review he presented to the world his and many others words and worlds. Trevor Reeves was indispensable to NZ literature and NZ literature owed Trevor a massive debt.

I first met Trevor when I joined the Values Party in 1977. Subsequently, we were both involved in the Save Aramoana Campaign – the successful campaign against plans to build an aluminium smelter at the entrance to Otago Harbour. Later, as I got more interested in writing, I realised that Trevor was also a fine poet and a dedicated poetry publisher. He published a number of my poems in Southern Ocean Review, one of New Zealand’s first online poetry journals which also spawned a print edition, and ran to 50 issues.

Science fiction was among his many interests, and we included an extract from a fine poem by Trevor in Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand.

It is a sad truth of New Zealand poetry that South Island poets and publishers are often marginalised or ignored. Trevor was a fine poet and a major figure in poetry publishing for many decades. I hope that his achievements and his life will be given the recognition they deserve.

2 thoughts on “Trevor Reeves (1940-2013): Poet, Editor, Publisher, Activist

  1. Jacob Edmonds did talk about Trevor Reeves at poetry reading at Circadian Rhythm in Dunedin on Wednesday. I hadn't seem him around town for many years. Alas I think you're right re the ignoring of South Island writing in general.

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