Tuesday 10 March 2020

Further Changes at Poetry New Zealand [10/3/20]

I'm happy to reveal that an agreement has been reached between Dr Tracey Slaughter, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Waikato University; Dr Jack Ross, the present managing editor of Poetry New Zealand; and Nicola Legat, head of Massey University Press, our publisher, for the future housing of the journal in the School of Arts at Waikato.

The formal announcement will be made at the launch of the latest issue, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2020, MC'ed by our distinguished guest editor Dr Jo Emeney, in Devonport Public Library this evening.

Alistair Paterson, ed.: Poetry NZ 25 (September 2002)

What can I say about Tracey Slaughter? She was featured in Poetry NZ 25 in 2002, and has been a passionate supporter of the journal ever since. She is still, perhaps, better known as a fiction writer than a poet, but the publication of her first stand-alone collection, Conventional Weapons, by Victoria University Press last year, made it clear how dedicated she remains to poetry as an essential part of her writing practice.

Tracey Slaughter: Conventional Weapons (2019)

Tracey is no stranger to the challenges of running a magazine, either. She co-founded the Waikato University literary journal Mayhem in 2014, and has been editing it - with an intrepid team of collaborators including Dave Taylor, Aimee-Jane Anderson-O'Connor, essa may ranapiri, and Melody Wilkinson - ever since.

Bronwyn Lloyd: Tracey Slaughter & Jack Ross (9/5/19)

I couldn't wish for a better successor as Managing Editor of Poetry New Zealand than my good friend Tracey. I will, however, be staying on as part of the advisory board for the journal, along with A/Prof Mark Houlahan, Prof Michele Leggott, Alistair Paterson ONZM, and Prof Bryan Walpert.

For further details of how to submit work to the magazine, you can continue to check the Poetry NZ website. The only difference is that the email address editor@poetrynz.net will now redirect to Tracey rather than to me, and the postal address for any snailmail correspondence will now be:
Dr Tracey Slaughter
English Programme
School of Arts
Waikato University
Private Bag 3105
Hamilton 3240

Jack Ross, ed.: Poetry NZ Yearbook 2017 / 2018 / 2019
[Design by Jo Bailey]

Thursday 6 February 2020

Upcoming Events: Poetry NZ Yearbook 2020 launch [10/3/20]

Launch of Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2020

This year's issue has been edited by Dr Johanna Emeney.

You can find her comments on this process here. As well as further details of the issue itself here:

Poetry New Zearbook 2020

Saturday 16 March 2019

Upcoming events: Massey University World Poetry Day Reading [21/3/19]

Massey Albany World Poetry Day Reading

Since the brutal terrorist attack on the people gathered for Friday Prayers in two mosques in Christchurch on Friday afternoon, 15th March, I feel that it's more important than ever that we gather together to express our complete rejection of such insane and pointless acts of violence. We thought such things could never happen in New Zealand. We were wrong.

I for one will be wearing black on Thursday, and will go to Student Central in Massey's Albany campus prepared to read and listen to poems dedicated to peace, justice and human understanding. I hope those of you who are in the area can join us. You will be very welcome.

Here is a link to a map of the area. The reading will take place in the East Precinct at midday, outside the building marked '4' on the map above (or inside if it's raining).

Albany Students Association Advocacy Coordinator Penny Lyall stressed, in her original invitation to this event, acts of sexual assault and violence. We continue to utterly repudiate those, but history has now opened up the conversation to force us to include terrorism in the list of things we are fighting against:

Message from Penny Lyall – ASA Advocacy

I have just started a new initiative on the Albany Campus called Thursdays in Black. This is to promote that in no way is sexual assault and violence ever acceptable.  Thus to encourage students and staff to actively acknowledge and create a safe culture on campus.

I am attaching the schedule of events that will be held each week for your interest and should you want to promote and display them somewhere.

What is of particular interest is that we will be recognising and celebrating World Poetry Day on the Thursday 21st March (Student Central Concourse or ASA Student Lounge if raining) ..

We are hoping that students and staff (both academic and general staff) will come along and perform original poems or just read poems aloud that touch them.

Jack Ross and Bryan Walpert and are both hoping to come along for a while and may perform.  

I would love a good selection of students and staff present performing or just listening.

Kind regards

Penny Lyall
Advocacy Coordinator
Albany Students' Association Inc
Level 2, Student Central, Massey University Albany Campus
Private Bag 102904, NSMC, Auckland, 0745

ddi: 09 213 6074 |  int: 43074 | mob: 027 426 7861

Massey Albany Thursdays-in-Black Schedule

Thursday 14 March 2019

Jennifer Little's Review on Massey News [13/3/19]

New Poetry NZ Yearbook moves in many ways

Poetry NZ Yearbook 2019's featured poet Stephanie Christie, about to read her work at the launch in Devonport Library, with Dr Jack Ross.

Poetry NZ Yearbook cover

Poet Fardowsa Mohamed reads at the launch

Poet Michele Leggott recites her new poem

Laugh, cry, take your breath away or send shivers down your spine – that’s how editor Dr Jack Ross hopes his selection of 120 plus poems in the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2019 will affect readers.

Launched last week at the Devonport Library in Auckland to a packed room of over 200, issue number 53 of New Zealand’s longest-running poetry journal and the third to be published by Massey University Press includes new migrant voices, veteran poets and even a veterinary professor-turned-poet.

Dr Ross, a poet, editor and senior lecturer in the School of English and Media Studies at Massey’s Albany campus, says the task of sifting through over a thousand submissions to choose 130 for the book is formidable as well as a tremendous privilege. Always with an ear tuned for fresh and challenging new voices and views, he has mustered a bracing array of poetry from a diverse set of writers.

From modern probes into religion, romance, love, death and loss to the inner lives of a retail worker, a refugee, a doctor, a drunk – the eclectic mix offers poems in a multitude of forms, including prose pieces. As well as captivating lines by emerging poets there is new work by some of the country’s most respected names, such as New Zealand’s inaugural Poet Laureate Michele Leggott, along with Elizabeth Smither, Emma Neale and Bob Orr. There are dual-text poems too, in Chinese, German, Spanish and te reo Māori, as well as 20 poems and an interview with featured Hamilton poet Stephanie Christie.

A number of Massey graduates and staff who are also published authors made the grade, including Professor Bryan Walpert, Dr Johanna Emeney, Dr Matthew Harris, Bonnie Etherington, Sue Wootton and Jessica Pawley, who wrote one of three literary essays in the book.

Wildbase vet a prize-winning poet

Another Massey contributor is Brett Gartrell, a professor in Wildlife Health in the School of Veterinary Science and clinical director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the Manawatū campus. He gained second place and a $300 in prize money for his poem; ‘After the principal calls’.

Beyond his day job saving injured native birds and animals and teaching others how to do the same, he has been taking courses through the School of English and Media Studies for the past decade, including on fiction writing, creative non-fiction, children’s writing, life writing and poetry.

“I never thought of myself as a poet previously, but I was inspired by the teaching and poetry of Professor Bryan Walpert in particular,” says Professor Gartrell, who has just completed a portfolio of poetry and essay for his master’s of Creative Writing. “I’ve discovered poetry as something that both challenges and intrigues me.”

His foray into studying poetry has, he says, “given me a perspective on my teaching. I have been challenged and mostly delighted by the teaching excellence of my tutors and lecturers. I think all academics could benefit from this role reversal from time to time.”

What does he most like about writing poetry? “It’s the combination of creative flow and control. It’s the challenge of allowing a poem to find its own direction and surprising conjunctions which then needs to be followed by the control of distillation; of condensing and communicating the most complex of lyrical moments through the words and structure of the poem.

“As Jasper Fforde writes in First Among Sequels; “Whereas story is processed in the mind in a straightforward manner, poetry bypasses rational thought and goes straight to the limbic system and lights it up like a brushfire. It's the crack cocaine of the literary world.”

Poetry editor to ghost writer

“I feel the most proud of this volume,” says Dr Ross, of the fifth consecutive edition of the Poetry New Zealand he has edited, not including one as a guest editor some years ago.

He says in the book’s introduction, What makes a poem good?, that being moved emotionally has increasingly become his sense of a successful poem, which may be about something funny, or painful or revealing. “It’s not that I sit here boo-hooing as I read through all the submissions for each issue – but every now and then something in one of them sits up and looks alive, persuades me that something is being worked out here that might be relevant to others simply because it seems so relevant to me.”

Mostly, he hopes the book will help to make poetry more visible, more accessible and maybe ignite new interest among a wider, more culturally diverse audience. This edition is his last as editor for the time being – he is handing the editorial reins for the next issue over to Dr Johanna Emeney, a published poet and creative writing lecturer at Massey. He is hoping to be able to devote more time to working on his own writing, with a project in the pipeline to explore his longheld fascination about ghost stories and the psychology behind them.

Related articles

Massey University Press publishes 'Poetry New Zealand Yearbook'
Abundance of young voices in latest Poetry NZ
Te Reo surge in latest Poetry NZ
‘Machinery for imagining’ in Poetry NZ

Created: 13/03/2019 | Last updated: 13/03/2019

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Radio NZ: Jesse Mulligan 1-4 [11/3/18]

Celebrating New Zealand poetry

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:28 pm on 11 March 2019
No caption
Photo: Supplied

Poetry New Zealand Yearbook's 2019 edition is out now, focusing on Hamilton poet Stephanie Christie, and containing more than 120 poems.

The country's longest-running poetry journal also features the work of young kiwi poets, winners of the inaugural competition for high school students.

Dr Jack Ross, senior lecturer at Massey University and managing editor of Poetry New Zealand, joins us now to give us a taste of what's in the yearbook.

Jack Ross

Wednesday 6 March 2019

Images from the Poetry NZ Yearbook 2019 Launch

Featured Poet Stephanie Christie at the Devonport Library
[photo: Bronwyn Lloyd]

Order of Events:

Paul Beachman & Jack Ross [photo: BL]

Paul Beachman (Devonport Library Associates)

Jack Ross [photo: BL]

Jack Ross (Editor: Poetry New Zealand)

Nicola Legat [photo: BL]

Publisher (Massey University Press):
Nicola Legat

Stephanie Christie [photo: BL]

Featured Poet:
Stephanie Christie

Stephanie Christie [photo: BL]

Chris Gallavin [photo: BL]

Launch speech:
Prof Chris Gallavin

PNZ Poetry Prize winners:

Natalie Modrich [photo: BL]

Natalie Modrich - 3rd prize for 'Retail' (p.213)

Natalie Modrich [photo: BL]

Brett Gartrell - 2nd prize for 'After the principal calls' (p.210)
[sent his apologies, so poem read out by Jack Ross]

Wes Lee - 1st prize for ‘The Things She Remembers #1’ (p.206)
[sent her apologies, so poem read out by Jack Ross]

Other poets from this and past issues:

Johanna Emeney [photo: BL]

Johanna Emeney

Alexandra Fraser [photo: BL]

Alexandra Fraser

Michele Leggott [photo: BL]

Michele Leggott

Fardowsa Mohamed [photo: BL]

Fardowsa Mohamed

Tracey Slaughter [photo: BL]

Tracey Slaughter

Bryan Walpert [photo: BL]

Bryan Walpert

Bryan Walpert [photo: BL]

Book signing

Cover design: Jo Bailey

Thursday 17 January 2019

Poetry New Zealand Poetry Prize Winners 2019

Cover design: Jo Bailey

Third Annual Poetry New Zealand Poetry Prize:
Winners 2019

First prize:Wes Lee,
for ‘The Things She Remembers #1’

... Standing looking in the mirror saying:
No, No / The cold orange lipstick of the
Big Nurse / The patient who screamed like
a bird / her mouth wide as the abyss /
The patient who jumped on my back, kicked
in her heels, tried to gee me up like a
donkey / The painful embarrassment of being
thirteen / The laughter of the nurses / At
a terrible time I believed / At terrible times
I still believe / There are still things left to
sell / On the bus a wasp and a homeless man.


Wes Lee lives in Wellington. Her poetry has appeared in The Stinging Fly, New Writing Scotland, Westerly, Landfall, The London Magazine, Cordite, The London Reader, Irises: The University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s Poetry Prize Anthology 2017, and many other journals and anthologies. She was a finalist in the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize 2018. The url to her website is https://www.weslee.co.nz.

Second prize:Brett Gartrell,
for ‘After the principal calls’

... The dogs broke into the hen house
stringing two birds out in bloody feathered scraps.
My son cornered the panting terriers
washed the blood from their lips
as they licked the tears from his eyes.


Brett Gartrell lives and works in the Manawatū, caring for small broken things. He wrote these poems as part of the Master’s of Creative Writing degree at Massey University. His Massey staff profile can be found here.

Natalie Modrich

Third prize:Natalie Modrich,
for ‘Retail’

... I have had a headache for three days
I’ve forgotten what it feels like
to wear my own clothes
I don’t care
how your day has been
or if you have a nice rest of your day
you have no idea
how much I don’t fucking care
but is there anything else I can help you with?
have a nice day rest of your day.


Natalie Modrich has recently returned to studying a Bachelor of Arts in English at Massey University. She took a semester off in 2017 to travel Europe after working in a soul-crushing retail job. The poem featuring in this yearbook is a very therapeutic poem.

You can find the complete texts of all three poems printed on pp. 206-13 of Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2019.

Further remarks on each poem are included in my editorial for the issue, available on the Poetry New Zealand index site.