The New Zealand Listener devotes vital attention to New Zealand writing throughout the year and this is to be applauded — reviews, interviews, features that cover a range of genres. However I was disappointed to see the slim selection of poetry in their recent Top 100 Books (November 30th issue) considering Chief Judge John Campbell had picked poetry as a particular strength of NZ writing at the NZ Post Book Awards this year: ‘It is a reflection of the extraordinary strength of the new and young writers we read, particularly in poetry, where New Zealand is blessed by so many fine writers (at all ages and stages) that we respectfully suggest poetry could stand beside rugby as our national sport.’
It was a list of 6: I was delighted to spot three favourite books of mine (those of Selina Tusitala Marsh, Amy Brown and Ian Wedde).
Disclaimer: This post might be picked up as sour grapes on my part as I had a book of poetry released in the past year (The Baker’s Thumbprint, Seraph Press), but I have zero expectation of my books being on lists, being reviewed or gaining awards. It is not what matters to me. I focus on writing and all the things I love in life which is why I run two blogs dedicated to a celebration of poetry.
To make up for the Listener’s inattentiveness to the fabulous poetry published both in New Zealand and abroad I invite you to celebrate a favourite poetry book of 2013 (excluding mine). I don’t mind where the book was published. I would love to publish a series of these picks over the next month. Just select your book (you can do more than one if you like) and write a few sentences or a paragraph on what you love about it.
Perhaps these picks will send us hunting for poetry books to put in our summer reading bags.
I have a little bundle of NZ poetry books to send to a random contributor or two.
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