Monthly Archives: August 2017

The winners of Dunedin’s 2017 WriteNow poetry competition & winning poem

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the 2017 WriteNow poetry competition. This annual competition for Dunedin secondary school students was judged this year by Lynley Edmeades. First place in the senior section went to Molly Crighton (Year 12, Columba College), for her poem “Headlights”, and the winner in the junior section is Mia Parsons (Year 9, Otago Girls High School), for “Morning”. Full results, winning poems, judge’s report and prizegiving details are here:

From Lynley Edmeades’ judges report:

I was really intrigued to read what teenagers are writing about today. Whichever direction the poems took, I found myself being invited into the minds of these young people and was often impressed with the treatment of the subject matter. I don’t know what it is like being a teenager today, but I do know that the modern world is, for many of us, a difficult place to understand at the best of times. Some of these poems remind me that poetry offers us navigational skills for the complexities of life. That these young minds are turning to poetry in times like these gives me solace and optimism: solace that they are looking to the written word as a medium of expression, and optimism for a future that has the humanities at its core.



We travel parallel to a queue of cars –
That sting-bright shine of a string of pearls
Around anonymity’s urban neck.
Waiting tastes like suet
And rush hour a fatty feast
For clogged one-ways
And no-exits like the fence at a football game.
In between each bracket of streetlight the stars open and close
As though they are some bioluminescent tropical flower
Releasing headlight spores
To scatter white hot and sting-bright
On the bone-stark road below.

Molly Crighton: First place, senior section, 2017 WriteNow poetry competition


The WriteNow prize ceremony will be held on Friday 25 August as part of the National Poetry Day public event:

When: 25 August 2017, 5:30pm-8:00pm
Where: Dunningham Suite, Dunedin City Library
Price: Tickets $5 (bookable in person, at your local library)

Special thanks to WriteNow sponsors: University Book Shop; University of Otago Department of English and Linguistics; Otago University Press.

National Poetry Day: Rising Stars II in Dunedin

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On National Poetry Day (August 25th) young Dunedin poets will perform their original work to a live audience.

Rising Stars II runs alongside the ‘Profile of 20 Young Poets’ radio series and podcast airing on Otago Access Radio, where young Dunedin artists talk about their writing and inspiration.

You can hear full episodes from this series here

Join us on the ground floor of the Dunedin Public Library to celebrate these young Dunedin poets!

25th August 2017 – 4:30pm
Gig City Cube, Ground Floor, Dunedin Public Library

Vaughan Rapatahana challenges sexism in NZ Literature @pantographpunch


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As you can imagine this article hits home sharply, especially as I am writing a book on New Zealand women’s poetry. My book aims to open multiple pathways into what was, at one point, viewed as a foreign country: women’s poems.

We have come so far, especially in view of Pākehā women – unbearably less so if you are not white-skinned – but I still find examples of gender bias and blindness, alongside the dynamic, fertile and eclectic visibility of women writing, critiquing, publishing, winning, speaking out, showcasing, connecting.

Thanks Vaughan, Sarah Jane Barnett and Pantograph Punch for provoking us to think and rethink.

Read the piece here.


A taste:

In a searing and articulate essay, Vaughan Rapatahana takes Aotearoa New Zealand literature to task for locker room schoolgirl-grooming, women-baiting, and sexism that arises from a violent and suppressed masculinity. 

You, being a modern poet
Must write real he-man stuff
So you will take slabs of prose
And cuts it into chunks like this;
There need be no rhyme nor reason in it …
No top-notch New Zealand poet any longer
Writes ballads like Jessie Mackay
Or bird-songs like Eileen Duggan
Or lyricisms like Helena Henderson
Or tree-poems like Nellie Macleod …
And anyway they‘re only women

(‘Without Malice’ by Alien in O’Leary 179-180).

Introduction, an historical overview

Yes, I have read all the books, all the pertinent material pertaining. New Zealand has always been a sexist society, a patriarchal panoply of male power, controlling and suppressing female prowess – as so well exemplified in its literary structures. Sexism in literature is a reflection of a wider societal sexism whereby a deliberately constructed literary masculinity ruled up until the 1970s or at least the 80s. Historian Jock Phillips pronounced in 1987 that ‘the traditional male stereotype is now weakening in New Zealand’ (289), while academic Kai Jensen pronounced, ‘…the mid 1960s…was the end of a thirty-year sequence of growth, dominance and decline in what we may call “high masculinism”’ (107). While the latter admitted to some continued sexism in New Zealand Letters from male writers after this time, it was now, ‘a tenuous residual presence’ (157).





Selina Tusitala Marsh’s invitation to Māori and Pasifika writers



This is the one event I am not going to miss on NZ Poetry Day!

From Selina:

‘Talofa Maori and Pasifika Writers – I’m using the launch to get teachers and writers kanohi-ki-te-kanohi, at least with your books! If you’re coming, please email Carole at the Women’s Bookshop to make sure they have your book in stock to sell on the night! If you’re not coming, but would like your book available on the night, please still email them! Let’s get Reading Brown on National Poetry Day!’


Launch details of Selina’s Tightrope

August 25th: 4.30 to 6 pm

Venue: Fale Pasifika

Location: Fale Pasifika, University of Auckland, Auckland, 1010


A new series – Poem on the Terrace: Charles Olsen and Anna Borrie read NZ poetry on a Madrid rooftop

Listen here.
First up: my ‘Bethells Beach’ from The Baker’s Thumbprint (Seraph Press).  Quite a thrill hearing it in Spanish and then English.
 ‘We present ‘Poem on the Terrace – New Zealand Poets’, where we introduce kiwi poets to a Spanish-speaking audience. Once a week Anna Borrie and I recite and discuss a poem on a relaxed Madrid roof terrace. (Subtitles are available in English.)’


Poem on the Terrace – Bethells Beach de Paula Green

Presentamos ‘Poem on the Terrace – poetas neozelandeses’. Una serie para dar a conocer la poesía de las antípodas de España. Los neozelandeses, Charles Olsen y Anna Borrie, recitan y comentan un poema en una agradable terraza de Madrid.

En este capítulo leen ‘La playa Bethalls’ de Paula Green de su libro The Baker’s Thumbprint (Seraph Press, 2013). Pueden leer más sobre la autora, además de dos de sus poemas traducidos al castellano, en Palabras Prestadas.

We present ‘Poem on the Terrace – New Zealand Poets’, where we introduce kiwi poets to a Spanish audience. Charles Olsen and Anna Borrie recite and discuss a poem on a relaxed Madrid roof terrace.

In this chapter they read ‘Bethells Beach’ by Paula Green from her book The Baker’s Thumbprint (Seraph Press, 2013). Find out more about the author on NZ Poetry Shelf