"Imperial Vistas Family Fictions" is a posthumous, previously unpublished collection from awardwinning Kendrick Smithyman, the New Zealand poet who died in 1995. This collection of short poems dates from the 1980s and gives vignettes of Kendrick Smithyman's forbears, tracing them from their apparent origins in Shropshire, England. It also illustrates the shock of family myth meeting historical reality. A Kendrick was at the Restoration Court of Charles II; the eldest son of John Bailey Smithyman emigrated to America to plant cotton in the boom years coinciding with the American Civil War; a Smithyman was taken by Indians after a shipwreck on the coast of Patagonia. Smithymans were born in colonial nineteenth-century Fiji, prospected for gold on the Victorian goldfields, served in India and eventually fetched up in the Kauri and gumfields of New Zealand.
Kendrick Smithyman was a distinguished poet who published a dozen collections, won the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry and also wrote a study of New Zealand poetry. Erudite, witty, prolific and dedicated, he taught for many years at the University of Auckland. He died in 1995.