Monthly Archives: June 2018

Poetry Shelf audio spot: Emma Shi reads ‘What comes after’

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Emma Shi was the winner of the National Schools Poetry NZ 2013 and the Poetry NZ Prize 2017. She has also been published in literary journals such as Landfall and Starling. She writes at


You can read the poem at The Starling where it was first published.







Time to enter National Schools Poetry Award

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And the judge is Louise Wallace.

Louise Wallace‘s poems have been published in literary journals in New Zealand, Australia and the U.S., translated into German and Spanish, and anthologised in Best of Best New Zealand Poems, Essential New Zealand Poems: Facing the Empty Page, and Manifesto Aotearoa: 101 Political Poems. In 2015 she was the Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago, Dunedin. In 2016 she represented New Zealand at the Mexico City Poetry Festival. She is the author of three collections of poetry, all published by Victoria University Press, the most recent being Bad Things (2017). She is the founder and editor of Starling, an online journal publishing the work of young New Zealand writers

James Brown and Hera Lindsay Bird are this year’s masterclass convenors.

Details here





At E-Tangata – Michalia Arathimos on our gated writing literary community and her new book

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full piece here


In the story of the Trojan Horse, after a ten-year siege, the Greeks pretend to sail away and leave a “gift” of a wooden horse on the doorstep of the city of Troy. The Trojans pull the horse into their city. But, under the cover of night, a select force of men creep out of it, torching the city, and thus winning the war for the Greeks.

I am a Greek-New Zealand writer and I am building a horse like this — or, more accurately, I’m allowing it to build itself.

But, in this story, the Trojan Horse is a non-fiction book that I’m writing about the media in Aotearoa — and the warriors are writers. Māori writers, Pasifika writers, French and Chinese and “other” writers. Any writers that haven’t been identified by the press as part of a Pākehā mainstream.

And the city of Troy is Pākehā culture, which I envisage in this book as a walled fortress. In front of this fortress, the horse is taking shape. There are voices clamouring inside it, about to be let out.

The voices belong to some of Aotearoa’s foremost writers: Tusiata Avia, Tina Makereti, Chris Tse, Paula Morris, and Karlo Mila, among many others, who I’ve interviewed for my upcoming book, The Outliers: Who do we want to be?

At Culture – Holly Hunter on starting up a journal (Mimicry)


 Holly Hunter. Photo by Russell Kleyn.

1. fill a gap

Founded from her central Wellington flat in 2016, Mimicry was born from Holly’s enthusiasm for her friend’s creative endeavours and desire for a forum that published work just for the sake of it. Self-described as “Aotearoa’s most playful journal”, Mimicry was intended from the outset to be, almost subversively, relaxed, organic, and unintimidating.

Working at Victoria University Press as an editor at the time, Holly had valuable insights into the operation of New Zealand’s literary community. This put her in a prime position to just create the exact kind of publication she wanted herself. She was prepared to be reckless and sink money and time into something new, to test the waters of what she could do and how she could showcase the works of people she admired.



full piece here

Flash Fiction Day winners


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Congratulations to the winners of this year’s National Flash Fiction Day  competitions!



Celebrations took place 22 June 2018 in

Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland,

and 24 June in Kawakawa

Guest speakers included Sue Wootton,Vaughan Rapatahana, Patrick Pink, Tim Jones, Jac Jenkins, Jennifer Lane and Wellington Mayor, Justin Lester.

Thank you to our sponsors, readers, guests and all those who submitted to the competitions this year!







Helen Lehndorf talks poetry with NZ Book Council


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We talked to Helen about poetry that has been meaningful to her over the years, and why poetry isn’t just for weddings and funerals.

Is there anything about NZ poetry that sets it apart do you think?

I think our poetry is often very funny. I love the self-awareness and self-deprecating humour in a lot of New Zealand poetry.

Regarding poets who write about the natural world from their lived experience, I think New Zealand poets have a way of enmeshing ‘nature’ and self in their work which speaks to how interconnected many of us (New Zealanders) are with our environment.

I could be biased, but I also think New Zealand poetry is of a consistently high standard.



Full conversation here





John Adam’s poem for Neve


Small hook

He iti, ahakoa he pounamu hoki


From the cord’s end, the catch produced

her jawbone hook. A thousand pencils


sharpened to this soft point, time

took a new first breath. The boat


seemed smaller, we noticed more keenly

the breeze, the chop, the nation


hushed. Metaphor cannot hold her,

she is like and unlike all the others,


only the plainest best words

will serve for our prime miniature.


©John Adams 2018



John is an Auckland-based poet.

Birth: Audio of my welcome poem for Jacinda and Clark’s baby

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Yesterday the Herald phoned to see if I would write a welcome poem for the new baby. The wind was moving through the manuka, it was grey and drizzling, my writing wrist was in a cast, and my gladness glass was being tested. But somehow it seemed the very best thing to do. I am full of admiration for our Prime Minister and the way she is changing the role of leadership. To use the word kindness in any talk of governance is a very good thing. To show that mothers can hold significant positions of power is also a very good thing. To show that fathers can care for the child is also a very good thing.

My warmest congratulations to Jacinda and Clark.


You can read the full poem at the Herald here.







Victoria University announces Emerging Pasifika Writer’s Residency


Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) is delighted to announce a new Emerging Pasifika Writer’s Residency for 2019.

The Residency, supported by Creative New Zealand, runs for three months and includes a writing room and a stipend of $15,000. A member of the Pasifika arts community will mentor the Emerging Pasifika Writer-in-Residence.

The Residency was one of several ideas proposed around supporting new Pasifika writers at a Talanoa—a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue—hosted by the IIML and attended by Pasifika writers and theatre-makers. Maualaivao Albert Wendt, whose ground-breaking fiction, poetry and teaching has influenced generations of writers, says emerging Pasifika writers need funding, “and the IIML offers a supportive, established and nourishing environment in which new writers can flourish”.


“This is a fabulous opportunity for a new Pasifika writer to work on a creative project in a stimulating and supportive environment. I am very excited,” says Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) Dame Luamanuvao Winnie Laban.

The IIML welcomes applications from writers at an early stage of their careers, with a growing body of work. This Residency is unique in that applications are invited from writers in all areas of literary activity, including drama, fiction and poetry (page and performance), devised performance, creative non-fiction and graphic novels.


“There are so many exciting things happening in Pasifika writing and we’re thrilled to be involved with this residency,” says IIML Director, Professor Damien Wilkins.


Applications close 31 July 2018. Apply here, or for further details please contact


For more information contact Emily Perkins on 04-463 6905 or