NZ Booksellers invited me to write a piece on selling poetry in New Zealand. It was a great chance to sing the praises of bookshops that stock poetry and create innovative events along with the traditional, and much loved, launches.
Roger and Helen Parsons had a room devoted to New Zealand books in their now-closed Wellesley-Street shop (Parsons Books, Auckland). In my mind it contained the most comprehensive selection of New Zealand poetry I have seen in a local bookstore, apart from the second-hand ones. Helen diligently kept a terrific backlist of New Zealand poets and stayed up-to-date with new releases. You could also find exquisite, hand-bound poetry books that were verging on art. This was where I launched my own books for a number of years, as it provided both a convivial place to celebrate my new arrivals and a chance to applaud these dedicated booksellers.
Great Bookshops for Poetry
Bookshops still stock poetry, but as poetry attracts such a niche market, the selection on offer becomes increasingly limited. Last year, I decided to be an unofficial ambassador for children’s poetry in New Zealand – to celebrate and promote children’s poetry books (and the reading and writing of it) in every way I could.
I created a page, Great Bookshops, on my blog New Zealand Poetry Box, to showcase bookshops that stocked a fabulous range of both local and international poetry books for children. I included details and photographs of shops such as The Children’s Bookshop in Wellington, and the Children’s Bookshops in in Auckland and Christchurch, both Unity Books, Next Page Please, The Women’s Bookshop and Time Out Book Shop in Auckland, Rona Gallery and Marsden Books in Wellington, Page and Blackmore in Nelson, and Dunedin’s University Bookshop.
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