Arvidson, Ken

K.O. Arvidson. Courtesy Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive.

Kenneth Owen Arvidson (1938-2011) was a New Zealand poet and academic.


Youth and educationEdit

Arvidson was born in Hamilton, New Zealand. He attended Catholic schools there and in Auckland. His secondary education took place at Sacred Heart College, Auckland.[1]

As a student at Auckland University he began publishing poems in Kiwi in the late 1950s while studying science. Arvidson transferred to an Arts course, studying German (as a preliminary for MSc) and attending lectures by Bill Pearson, John Reid, M.K. Joseph, Allen Curnow, and others.[2]

While studying for his M.A. in English, Arvidson taught senior English at St Peter's College, Auckland, from 1961 to 1963. Notably, he taught and considerably influenced poet Sam Hunt in the lower 6th form in 1963.[3] Poet Terry Locke also benefited from his teaching. Arvidson endowed a prize for poetry at St Peter's, which was awarded to Sam Hunt in that year.[4]


Arvidson lectured at Flinders University of South Australia from 1967 to 1970, and in 1971 moved to the University of the South Pacific to develop a degree programme in English and Commonwealth literature. He joined the staff of the University of Waikato in 1974 and later became a professor of English there.[2] Arvidson's research interests include John Henry Newman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Victorian literature, Irish literature, Pacific literature and Australian literature.[2]

Arvidson's verse appeared in literary magazines in New Zealand and internationally, and was anthologized in Australia and Japan as well as the Penguin, Oxford and other New Zealand collections.


The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature says: "Temporal and spiritual matters balance one another in much of Arvidson's poetry, in keeping with his Roman Catholic cast of thought. His imagery often quickly acquires symbolic significance."[2]



  • Riding the Pendulum: Poems, 1961-1969. Wellington & New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.


  • "Cultural Action in the Literature of New Zealand" in Only Connect: Literary perspectives east and west (edited by Guy Amirthanayagam and S.C. Harrex). Adelaide & Honolulu: Centre for Research in the New Literatures in English and East-West Centre, 1981, pp. 265-289.[5]


  • John Eldon Gorst, The Maori King. Auckland: Reed, 2001.
  • Lauris Edmond, Selected Poems, 1975-2000. Wellington: Bridget Williams, 2001.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[6]

See alsoEdit



  1. K O Arvidson, "Out of Irishtown", The Source of the Song: New Zealand Writers on Catholicism, ed. Mark Williams, VUP, Wellington, 1995.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 K.O. Arvidson, Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature (edited by Roger Robinson & Nelson Wattie), Oxford University Press, 1998, 27-28., Web, Apr. 12, 2014.
  3. "Hunt, Sam", Robinson and Wattie, Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature, 249-250. Print.
  4. St Peter's College Magazines, 1960-1963.
  5. Philip Steer, Introduction to Old New Zealand, Victoria University February 2004. New Zealand Electronic Text Centre, Web, Apr. 20, 2014.
  6. Search results = au:K.O. Arvidson, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Apr. 20, 2014.

External linksEdit

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