Monthly Archives: April 2018

Congratulations! Sarah Broom Poetry Prize finalists 2018


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Sarah Broom Poetry Prize Finalists 2018

We are delighted to announce four finalists for the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize in 2018.


Stuart Airey is a poet with a day job as an optometrist, which involves using the logical, scientific part of his mind. He describes poetry as “letting me explore all the other bits”.  Stuart began writing poetry a few years ago; these poems are as yet unpublished, but they have been performed in his local church. Though he has been living in Hamilton for many years now, Stuart feels an increasingly strong call from his Christchurch roots and his resonance with loss. Poems allow a part of him to look up at the Port Hills, walk along leafy Saint Albans, and gaze longlingly out at the Sumner surf.


Jane Arthur was born in New Plymouth and lives in Wellington with her partner, baby and dogs. She has worked in the book industry for over 15 years as a bookseller and editor, and is a founder of the New Zealand children’s literature website The Sapling. She has a Master’s in Creative Writing from the IIML at Victoria University, where her supervisor was Cliff Fell, a 2017 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize finalist. She also has a Diploma in Publishing from Whitireia Polytech and a Master’s in English Literature from Auckland University. Her poems have appeared in journals including Sport, Turbine, Ika, and Sweet Mammalian.


Wes Lee is the author of Body, Remember (Eyewear Publishing, 2017), Shooting Gallery (Steele Roberts, 2016), and Cowboy Genes (Grist Books, University of Huddersfield Press, 2014). Her work has appeared in the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2018, New Writing Scotland, The London Magazine, Landfall, Poetry LondonIrises: The University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s Poetry Prize Anthology 2017, and many other journals and anthologies. She has won a number of awards for her writing including the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Literary Award; the Short Fiction Writing Prize (University of Plymouth Press) and the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Award in Galway. Wes is currently working on her third poetry collection, By the Lapels.


Robyn Maree Pickens is an art writer, poet, and curator. Her critical and creative work is centred on the relationship between aesthetic practices and ecological reparation. Robyn’s poetry has appeared in the Australian eco-poetic journal Plumwood Mountain (2018), and US journals Matador Review (2017), water soup (2017), and Jacket 2 (2017). Her most recent work was exhibited at ARTSPACE, Auckland in March 2018. Robyn’s poetry criticism has appeared in Rain Taxi (2018) and Jacket 2 (2018). Currently Robyn is a PhD candidate in ecological aesthetics in the English Department at the University of Otago, and an art reviewer for the Otago Daily Times, The Pantograph Punch, and Art News.

The four finalists will read from their work at the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize event at the Auckland Writers Festival on Sunday 20 May, 3.15-4.15pm.  Guest judge Eileen Myles will introduce the finalists and announce the winner.


The judge:

Eileen Myles is an American poet and writer who has produced more than twenty volumes of poetry, fiction and other works. Their poetry collections includes I Must Be Living Twice (selected poems) and Not Me, and they are the author of Inferno, a novel detailing the hell of the life of the female poet. Myles has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction, four Lambda Book Awards, and numerous other awards and fellowships. Fellow novelist Dennis Cooper has described Myles as “one of the savviest and most restless intellects in contemporary literature”.

Monday Poem by Bernadette Hall



from a sonnet sequence called  Fancy Dancing



Drowning is painless, or so they say, when we die

we’ll look as though we’re sleeping. How many thousands

and thousands are sleeping now in the swollen waters

of the Mediterranean? It’s enough to break your heart.

Maggie dropped in for a drink after work

the other day. Tears in the street. I’ve given her

our mother’s lovely little blue Limoges plate.

We talked about the grandfather we’d never met,

Alexander, thrown out of the family for some reason

we are left to imagine. I found him earlier this year,

lying all on his own in an unmarked grave  in Ashburton.

You can drown in loneliness, it seems, just like in water.

We’ll put up a stone with his name on it, such a small gesture.



©Bernadette Hall


Bernadette Hall lives in a renovated bach at Amberley Beach in the Hurunui, North Canterbury. She has published ten collections of poetry, the most recent being Life & Customs (VUP 2013) and Maukatere, floating mountain (Seraph Press 2016). In 2015 shereceived the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry. In 2016 she was invested as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature.  In 2017 she joined with three other Christchurch writers to inaugurate He Kōrero Pukapuka, a book club which meets weekly at the Christchurch Men’s Prison.



From ANZL: Vision Test – David Taylor assesses the 20/20 Poetry Collection

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David Taylor assesses the 20/20 Poetry Collection, and what we’re exploring – and avoiding – in our literature of unease.


The 20/20 poetry project was devised in 2017 to celebrate 20 years of National Poetry Day in New Zealand. Twenty ‘acclaimed Kiwi poets’ were asked ‘to choose one of their own poems – a work that spoke to New Zealand now’.  Those poets included Bill Manhire, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Kevin Ireland, Elizabeth Smither, Paula Green, Apirana Taylor and Cilla McQueen.

That group of poets were ‘also asked to select a poem by another poet they saw as essential reading’.  Many of the selected ‘second twenty’ were young, new, or underrated voices who’d published a collection or had poems included in an anthology or journal – including Chris Tse, Lynley Edmeades, Gregory Kan, Johanna Emeney, Michael Steven, John Dennison and Simone Kaho.

The resulting forty poems offer an interesting cross-section sample of the current ideas, voices and concerns in contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand poetry. Many of the poets had their selected poems pasted around the country by Phantom Billstickers, current sponsors of National Poetry Day.

To comment on what these poems suggest about the subjects current in our poetry right now, and on why these poems may have been chosen, it’s necessary to make some generalisations – drawing observations from ‘repeated sightings of’ rather than from an exhaustive scientific survey. With so much diversity in our poetic voices the commonalities are not necessarily topics, themes and styles, as they once would have been. But there are definitely patterns here which are hard to ignore.

One is to do with the timeframe of these poems – in particular that many of them have very long temporal settings. The second is to do with a sense that many of these poems have an underlying sense of uncertainty – culminating in a collective sense of existential searching.

Three themes which I expected to be more prominent were very modestly represented and so some consideration is given to their absence – landscapes, cultural identity and relationships.

As a sample on which to run some quick tests, these poems suggest that we might be moving away from some more traditional areas of exploration but are not yet sure where to look or what we might be looking for, or what we are trying to avoid.


Full article here







An invitation from Landing Press for poetry by migrants and those with refugee backgrounds

If you know someone that might be interested – please share. I know there are some creative writing groups that might take this up but don’t know how to contact them – Paula


Hi there,

I am writing to you on behalf of Landing Press based in Wellington.

We are working on a collection of poems by migrants and refugee-background individuals living in New Zealand and want to invite you/your organisation to send us poems. And please help us spread the word about this great opportunity.

The only requirement is that the poems must be written by migrants or refugees, whether they have lived in New Zealand for a month or fifty years.


·         You can send up to 3 poems.

·         Email them to Include your name and phone number.

·         Or you can post them to 97 Tireti Road, Porirua 5022. Include your name and postal address. (Keep a copy of your poem).

·         Send us your poems by Monday, 16th July.


A selection of poems will be published later in the year as a companion to a book of poetry on the themes of migrants and refugees, written by Adrienne Jansen and Carina Gallegos. Both books will be published by Landing Press. All writers whose work is included in the selection will receive a copy of the book.

Landing Press is a very small press, but we have a big vision. We believe that poetry is a powerful way in which our many voices can be heard. 

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.


Kind regards

Devinda Senanayake


For Landing Press

From NZ Festival: Landfall editor, Emma Neale, talks to ARTicle magazine about her reading life


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The first book to capture my imagination was

My mother read aloud a lot of AA Milne, Beatrix Potter to me and my sister when we were small; I loved the Narnia books; and one novel that still stands out for me was a copy of The Last of the Great Whangdoodles, by Julie Andrews Edwards – it was a book bought for the plane flight to America when I was 8. There was something momentous about it being a hardback, being written by the person I thought of as Mary Poppins, and its imaginative fantasy world, with moments of ludicrous word play (the sweet tooth – a tooth with a tiny flower tattooed on it) totally transported me.


Full article here


NZ poetry to set to music in Featherston

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This year, the programme will offer a selection of Bill Manhire’s poems set as songs that speak to ice and the frozen north/south.

The themes and inspirations will be drawn from the albums Antarctica (‘These Rough Notes’) and a new album in progress that centres on themes from Nordic mythology and the frozen north (to be released as Bifrost (after the rainbow bridge that link the earth and the homeland of the gods, and that is celebrated in the Ragnarok)).

Composer and pianist, Norman Meehan, and vocalist, Hannah Griffin, have been collaborating for more than ten years, performing poetry as song. That collaboration has seen them work extensively with New Zealand’s inaugural Poet Laureate, Bill Manhire. This year they will be joined by violinist, Martin Riseley.

Entry: Koha

This is an event involved in the Featherston Booktown Festival on Friday 11th, Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th May celebrating everything to do with books, writers and reading.

The three-day programme includes writing workshops; poetry readings; talks by leading authors and illustrators; and a book fair including stalls with rare and second hand books. There are also events specifically for children while this year’s festival has a special emphasis on poetry and young adult fiction.

details here

Culture trip offers ten great NZ poets


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‘While New Zealand is most famous for its astounding natural beauty, friendly people and now legendary cinematic prowess, it has also been called home by some truly exceptional poets. Here’s a top 10 of New Zealanders who’ve graced the world with their poetry.’

Go here for the ten poets.


This on Janet Frame whose poetry keeps pulling me back, year after year:


Janet Frame

Janet Frame was probably one of – if not the – greatest writers that New Zealand has ever produced. More than that, she was one of the most thought provoking and powerful writers of recent times. So much so that she was frequently spoken of as a Nobel Prize candidate for literature. She was more prolifically a writer of fiction – and that was what she will be chiefly remembered for – but she also published a single book of poetry.

If you’ve never read Frame’s work then you really should. She spent about a decade in mental hospitals after being incorrectly diagnosed with schizophrenia. Of this time she wrote: “I inhabited a territory of loneliness which … resembles the place where the dying spend their time before death, and from where those who do return, living, to the world bring, inevitably, a unique point of view that is a nightmare, a treasure, and a lifelong possession …” Her poetry collection is called The Pocket Mirror.



This is a tip-of-the-iceberg kind of list! Iceberg is not exactly the best trope though.







Poetry Shelf Audio Spot: Chris Tse reads ‘I want things that won’t make me happy’



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Chris Tse, ‘I want things that won’t make me happy’, He’s so MASC, Auckland University Press, 2018

Auckland University Press page