Category Archives: Poetry Awards

Poetry Shelf congratulates the Ockham New Zealand Book Award poetry winners: the interviews and an audio

Full book award results here

So delighted to see two excellent poetry books receive awards.

 

Helen Heath reads two poems from Are Friends Electric

Poetry Shelf in conversation with Helen Heath

Poetry Shelf interviews Tayi Tibble

 

Best Poetry book:

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Helen Heath won the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry for her collection Are Friends Electric? (Victoria University Press).

“By turns thoughtful and moving, Are Friends Electric? asks how the material world might mediate—or replace—human relationships.

“Helen Heath’s collection impressed the judging panel with its broad thematic reach, its willingness to tackle complex issues, and its poetic risk-taking,” said the judges.

 

Best First Poetry book:

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Celebrating the Ockham NZ Book Award poetry finalists

The Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry
Are Friends Electric? by Helen Heath (Victoria University Press)
There’s No Place Like the Internet in Springtime by Erik Kennedy (Victoria University Press)
The Facts by Therese Lloyd (Victoria University Press)
Poūkahangatus by Tayi Tibble (Victoria University Press)

 

Great to see we have new sponsors, Mary and Peter Biggs, for the Poetry Category at the Book Awards.

I have featured all four finalists on my blog because I have found much to love about these books – this therefore is a moment of celebration. Of course there are books not here that I loved immensely. Poetry Shelf is whole-heatedly devoted to celebrating local books and the fact that I don’t have time to feature all my poetry loves is testimony to the excellent poetry we publish – through both big and small presses. Victoria University Press is becoming a flagship for NZ poetry – publishing at least 9 books a year of high quality and diverse scope. I applaud them for that. And all the other publishers issuing standout poetry (there are many) and the booksellers who put local poetry books on their shelves.

Thank you!

Congratulations to the four finalists! And to VUP.

 

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Listen to Helen read two poems here

Helen’s book is a complex, satisfying read with enticing layers and provocative subject matter. It is a book of seeing, strolling, collecting; as though this poet is a bricoleur and   the book is a cabinet of curious things. What I love in the poems is the shifting voice, the conversational tones. The poems that link grief with the effect of technology upon our bodies get under my skin. Most importantly there is a carousel of voices that may or may not be invented or borrowed but that make you feel something.

 

I ask if you would like a body.

You say, ‘No I’m beyond bodies now,

I’m ready to be fluid, spilling out all over.

I’m ready to spread myself so thin that I’m

a membrane over the world.’ I’m not ready.

I take off my socks and shoes and walk

over a patch of grass very slowly.

 

from ‘Spilling out all over’

 

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Erik’s first-full length collection sparks with multiple fascinations, experience, thought, wit, politics, optical delights and aural treats. It is a book of harmonics and elastic thinking, and is a pleasure to read. The collection navigates eclectic subject matter but I was initially drawn to the interplay between a virtual world and a classical world. I began to muse on how poetry fits into movement between the arrival of the internet and a legacy of classical knowledge. I also love the idea of poetry reacting to collisions, intersections, juxtapositions. Interestingly when I was jotting down notes I wrote the words ‘detail’, ‘things’ and ‘juxtaposition’ but not just for the embedded ideas. Yes, the detail in the poems is striking in itself, but I was drawn to the ‘static’ or the ‘conversation’ or ‘kinetic energy’ between things as I read.

 

Two feet of snow at my parents’ place, in another season.

Here, the cicadas sing like Christian women’s choirs

in a disused cotton mill. Belief is a kind of weather.

I haven’t seen proper snow for three years.

 

from ‘Letter from the Estuary’

 

 

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Therese’s new collection resides in a captivating interplay of chords. You could say that any poetry book delivers chords whether aural, visual or thematic, and in the light of ideas and feelings. This book does it to a stunning degree. Once you start hunting for them – whether in harmony or not, between poems or within a single example – the rewards are myriad. At the core of the book the title poem, the standout-lift-you-off-your-feet poem, achieves a blinding intensity: raw, surprising, probing, accumulative, fearless. I particularly love the surprising turns of ‘Mr Anne Carson’. Therese’s collection takes you deep into personal experience that gets hooked up in the poetry of another (Anne Carson), in matted ideas and the need to write as a form of survival. It makes you feel as much as it makes you think. It is a riveting read.

 

For three months I tried

to make sense of something.

I applied various methods:

logic, illogic, meditation, physical exertion,

starvation, gluttony. Other things too

that are not necessarily the opposite of one another,

writing and reading for example.

 

from ‘The Facts’

 

 

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Tayi’s debut collection, Poūkahangatus, has already and understandably attracted widespread media attention. The poetry is utterly agile on the beam of its making; and take ‘beam’ as you will. There is brightness, daring and sure-footedness. The poems move in distinctive directions: drawing whanau close, respecting a matrilineal bloodline (I adore this!), delving into the dark and reaping the light, cultural time-travelling, with baroque detail and sinewy gaps. The collection charts the engagement of a young, strong woman with her worlds and words  – and the poetic interplay, the sheer joy and magnetism of the writing, is addictive. I treasure this book for its kaleidoscopic female relations and views of women; and the way women are the vital overcurrents and undercurrents of the collection. Above all I loved the kaleidoscopic effect of the book; the way it is edgy and dark and full of light. The way it catches living within popular culture and within family relations, the way it carries sharp ideas and equally sharp feelings.

 

Poūkahangatus

in 1995 I was born and Walt Disney’s Animated Classic Pocahontas was

released. Have you ever heard a wolf cry to the blue corn moon? Mum has.

I howled when my mother told me Pocahontas was real but went with John

Smith to England and got a disease and died. Representation is important.

 

from ‘Poūkahangatus’

 

I am not a journalist punting on a winner – I am a poetry fan and have read all these books several times – any one of these books deserves to win. A toast from me x.

2019 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize call for submissions

 

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SARAH BROOM POETRY PRIZE

The Sarah Broom Poetry Prize is one of New Zealand’s most valuable poetry prizes and aims to recognise and financially support new work from an emerging or established New Zealand poet. In 2019, the prize is an award of $10,000. Poets are required to submit six to eight poems (at least five unpublished).

The prize was established in 2013 in honour of the New Zealand poet Sarah Broom (1972-2013), the author of Tigers at Awhitu (2010) and Gleam (2013).

Now in its sixth year, the award will be showcased in a special public session at the Auckland Writers Festival in May 2019 where shortlisted poets will read from their work and the winner will be announced. The full Festival programme will be publicly launched on 13 March and will be available in print and online here

Competition entries open on 21 January and close on 28 February 2019

For entries/queries email poetryprize@sarahbroom.co.nz. For more information about the prize and Sarah Broom visit here

 

2019 Judge: Anne Michaels

Award-winning poet, novelist and essay writer Anne Michaels is Toronto’s current Poet Laureate. Her multiple awards and shortlistings include the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for the Americas, the Orange Prize, the Governor-General’s Award and the Griffin Poetry Prize. Her latest poetry collection All We Saw was published in late 2017.

 

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31st Annual Ronald Hugh Morrieson Literary Awards results

The 31st Annual Ronald Hugh Morrieson Literary Awards were held at TSB Hub on Wednesday 24 October with more than 70 people in attendance. Attracting a record number of entries, the awards give local authors and poets an opportunity to showcase their skills. Judges Mary-Anne Scott, Matt Rilkoff and Airini Beautrais were delighted with the high standard of entries. Hāwera’s Bruce Finer was the winner in the Open Section Short Story, while Maria Cunningham of New Plymouth placed first in the Open Section Poetry. Sasha Finer, from Hāwera High School, won both the Secondary School Short Story and Poetry categories. Maia-Laine Rupapera Maeke from St Mary’s Diocesan School was placed first in the Secondary School Research Article category.

Results:
Research Article
First Place ($500)/ I Don’t use Snapchat, But my Dad does – Maia-Laine Rupapera Maeke / St Mary’s Diocesan School
Second Place ($300)/ The Acceleration of Communication – Alex Paish / St Mary’s Diocesan School
Third Place ($200) / Farming through Technology – Monique Radford / St Mary’s Diocesan School

Short Story
Open
First place ($500)/ Heartwood – Bruce Finer / Hāwera
Second place ($300)/ Dilemna – Chris Purdon / Hāwera
Third Place ($200)/ Catch a Boy – Darly Paraha / Hāwera
Secondary School
First place ($500)/ Immortality – Sasha Finer / Hāwera High School
Second place ($300)/ The Magpie – Sasha Finer / Hāwera High School
Third Place ($200)/ Olympics – Holly Stewart / Hāwera High School

Poetry
Open
First place ($500)/ Elegy – Maria Cunningham / New Plymouth
Second place ($300) / After the Sale – Stuart Greenhill / Stratford
Third Place ($200)/ You always look younger when smiling at Parties – Michaela Stoneman / Pātea
Highly Commended / A rip in the crotch of my Jeans – Alyx Devlin / Eltham
Highly Commended / Futures Past – Michaela Stoneman / Pātea
Highly Commended / Death and Taxes – Maria Cunningham / New Plymouth
Secondary School
First place ($500)/ / Forbidden Fruits – Sasha Finer / Hāwera High School
Second place ($300)/ Long Distance Calls – Sasha Finer / Hāwera High School
Third Place ($200)/ My Normality – Lexi McQuaig / Ōpūnake High School

 

 

Nina Powles makes shortlist for inaugural Women Poets’ Prize

 

The Rebecca Swift Foundation is deeply excited to share the shortlist for the inaugural Women Poets’ Prize.  See here

Shortlist includes Nina:

Nina Mingya Powles
Nina Mingya Powles is a writer from New Zealand living in London. She is the author of Luminescent (2017) and Girls of the Drift (2014), and her poetry pamphlet Field Notes on a Downpour is forthcoming from If A Leaf Falls Press. She is Poetry Editor at the Shanghai Review, and won the 2018 Jane Martin Poetry Prize. @ninamingya

 

The Rebecca Swift Foundation is a UK registered charity set up in memory of Rebecca Swift – a much-loved editor, novelist, diarist, poet, and founder and director of The Literary Consultancy from its foundation in 1996 until her early death in April 2017.

 

Launching a year on from Rebecca’s passing, 2018 marks the inaugural Women Poets’ Prize – a biennial award seeking to honour Rebecca’s two key passions: poetry and the empowerment of women.

 

The Prize will be awarded to three female-identifying poets. Each winner will be carefully matched with a poetry mentor in addition to a pastoral coach, facilitating a holistic body of support that nurtures craft and personal wellbeing in equal measure. The Prize will also offer a programme of support and creative professional development opportunities with the Foundation’s partners: Faber and Faber, The Literary Consultancy, RADA, City Lit, Verve Festival, Bath Spa University, and The Poetry School. In addition to these opportunities which constitute the Women Poets’ Prize professional grant, each successful poet will each receive a cash bursary of £1,000.

 

 

Dunedin writer Sue Wootton is the recipient of the NZSA Peter & Dianne Beatson Fellowship 2018

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Sue Wootton will use the fellowship to work on an historical novel. She says: ‘I’m proud and delighted to be the recipient of the 2018 Peter and Dianne Beatson Fellowship. It’s really invigorating to receive this vote of confidence in my project, and wonderful to know that I can now dedicate a sustained stretch of time to work on my second novel, which begins during the 1948 polio epidemic and explores the effects of this on one NZ family’.

Sue Wootton’s poetry, fiction and essays are widely published in New Zealand and internationally, and her work has been recognised in a number of awards and competitions, including the International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine, the Caselberg Poetry Prize, the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize, the University of Canberra Vice Chancellor’s Prize, the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Short Story Competition and the NZ Poetry Society International Competition. Her debut novel, Strip (Mākaro Press), was longlisted for the fiction prize in the 2017 Ockham NZ Book Awards, and her fifth poetry collection, The Yield (Otago University Press) was a finalist in the 2018 poetry category of these prestigious national awards.

Selection panel convener David Hill commented: ‘Sue Wootton is a versatile and much-admired writer, with a growing track record in both poetry and prose. Her sample of work is distinguished by writing that is both adventurous and accessible.’

 

Full details here

 

 

 

 

 

Winner of National Schools Poetry Award 2018

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A Year 13 student at Wellington’s Queen Margaret College has won first place in the 2018 International Institute of Modern Letters’ (IIML) National Schools Poetry Award, with her poem ‘Vignettes’.

Ilena Shadbolt receives a prize of $500 and the opportunity to attend a poetry masterclass with poets James Brown and Hera Lindsay Bird at the IIML, home of Victoria University of Wellington’s prestigious creative writing programme. Ilena’s school library also receives a $500 book grant. Nine others were shortlisted in the awards and they will also attend the masterclass.

“I’m very excited to attend the masterclass with James Brown and Hera Lindsay Bird. I’m already a fan of Hera Lindsay Bird’s poetry and I’m really flattered and empowered to have won the award,” says Ilena.

“I wrote ‘Vignettes’ after my friend and I walked down to the dairy from my house at 9pm to get ice-cream. It was a strangely liberating walk; it felt like we were floating between all these glowing fish tanks dotted on the hills, pointing out to each other the little instances playing out in people’s living rooms and kitchens.”

Judge Louise Wallace—editor of Starling journal for young New Zealand writers and author of three collections of poetry—says the young poets who entered the competition are engaging sharply with the world around them, writing about gender, culture and identity, feminism and #metoo, our changing environment and political systems and their implications.

“Ilena Shadbolt’s subtly crafted ‘Vignettes’, is a beautiful observational poem, and as the title suggests, captures small glimpses of life. It is presented in the author’s natural voice, nothing feels forced, and as much is conveyed in what the poem doesn’t say, as in what it does. There is a nervous tension in this relationship, yet there is also a distance present between the speaker and the city—they are an outsider, looking in.”

Ilena Shadbolt will read her winning poem alongside leading Wellington poets at Unity Books Wellington, 12-1pm on Friday 24 August, to celebrate Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day. National Schools Poetry Award founder and Victoria University Emeritus Professor, Bill Manhire, will introduce the event.

The nine shortlisted poets are: Stella Stevens, Motueka High School; Catherine Davidson, St Hilda’s Collegiate; Kushla Siemonek, Taumarunui High School; Patricia Alcartado, Hamilton Girls’ High School, Anna Doak, Cerys Fletcher, Cashmere High School; Ruby Rae Macomber, Harriet Carter, Northcote College; Cybella Maffitt, St Cuthbert’s College.

“This award has a fine history of uncovering some seriously talented young poets. The 2018 winner and the exciting new writers who are shortlisted receive a great boost from this recognition and are now perfectly placed to take their work to a new level,” IIML Director Professor Damien Wilkins says.

All shortlisted students receive an additional package of literary prizes provided by the New Zealand Book Council, Victoria University Press, Sport, Landfall, and the New Zealand Society of Authors, as well as $100. Flights and accommodation costs are covered for students outside of Wellington to attend the masterclass at the IIML.

The 2018 National Schools Poetry Award is organised by the IIML with the support of Creative New Zealand and advertising agency Ogilvy (formerly Ogilvy & Mather), with promotional support from Wonderlab.

The winning poem is attached. The judge’s report and all the shortlisted poems are available on the National Schools Poetry Award website.