Oliver has a gift for the untrammelled visual phrase, a poetry of clear bright objects turned this way and that, until an inner meaning glows.
Joan Stevens, NZ Listener, 1957
Oliver writes with quiet power and the undertow is often one near to desolation . . . The technical control he exerts has an austerity than enhances his lyric clarity.
Murray Bramwell, Comment, 1980
W.H. Oliver is one of New Zealands most eminent historians. He is the author of The Story of New Zealand (1960), James K. Baxter: A Portrait (1983) and a memoir, Looking for the Phoenix (2002). He was co-editor of the Oxford History of New Zealand (1980), and General Editor of the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography from 1983 to 1990.
Bill Oliver is also the author of four highlyregarded collections of poems. Poems 19462005 collects these four volumes, as well as uncollected poems from the 1950s and 60s and, most welcome of all, a group of new poems notable for their candour and clarity.
Praise for Poems 1946-2005
As a poet Oliver has never beaten a big rhetorical drum or gone in for flashy and crowd-pleasing effects; rather his poems are refined, intelligent and subtle. ...All four books are included complete, together with a few uncollected poems some early, some late to make up the present volume. It makes an excellent and thoroughly enjoyable book.
Peter Simpson NZ HERALD