A Poetry-Shelf Toast: Michele Leggott is a poet to be celebrated


Michele Leggott was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry in 2013. She has published a substantial body of work including seven volumes of poetry. She edited Young Knowledge: The Poems of Robin Hyde. Michele is a Professor of English at The University of Auckland, she co-founded The New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre, has mentored countless emerging poets, and was The National Library’s inaugural Poet Laureate (2008-9). Her poetry has accompanied her through the extraordinary challenges of losing her sight, an experience that has not diminished her commitment to New Zealand poetry in any way whatsoever. Her poetry is, as she attests, in debt to a long line of women writers; it engages with heart and intellect, along with eye and ear. There is difficulty, there is musicality, there is silence, there is autobiography, there is the real world, there is mythology, there is history, there is the world of writing, there are homages to others, there is acute and sweet lyricism, there is family, there is love, there is laughter, there is song, there is a shifting vocabulary, there are foreign words, there is experimentation, there is tradition, there is pain, there is sadness, there is joy, there is empathy, there is movement, there is poetry that haunts and there is poetry that holds you close so you lean in and listen.

Congratulations Michele on this well deserved honour.

To celebrate the PM’s Award for Poetry Michele answers twelve questions for The NZ Herald.


New Zealand Book Council page

Auckland University Press

My review of Mirabile Dictu

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