Cultural Icons

Conversations with iconic people

Episode14

Denys Trussell

“My ambition was to be a gangster and I was working on it quite assiduously and in a very disciplined way”

Preview / 00:01:22

Full Episode / 00:58:18

In This Episode

This Cultural lcons programme celebrates Denys Trussell, one of New Zealand’s most culturally ambidextrous icons; a poet, musician, biographer, essayist, ecologist and - as discovered in this interview - ex-truck driver and gangster.

Denys is interviewed by fellow wordsmith Kevin Ireland.  The two discuss Denys’ early ambitions, the galvanising moments of his career and his “penchant for diversions and reprises” which have resulted in an impressive body of work crossing many disciplines.  We are treated to two poetry readings and a discussion on Denys’ use of symphony thematic developments in his poetry, owing to his training as a classical pianist. 
 
Kevin also questions Denys on his extensive contribution to the protection of New Zealand’s ecology; setting up ‘Beach Forest Action Committee’ in the early 70’s which later morphed into ‘Friends of the Earth’.  His involvement continues, almost 40 years on.