Tuesday 17 November 2015

The Choice of a Cover Image for Yearbook 2

Cover image: Karl Chitham / Cover design: Anna Brown

The cover image for Poetry NZ Yearbook 2 comes from a series of maquettes by artist Karl Chitham (Ngāpuhi). At the time he made the models in question he was working as a curator at the Rotorua Museum, which may explain why this one appears to recall the famous pink and white terraces. Karl, however, has transformed them into congealed pools of white and sulphur-coloured paint, with a wharenui standing proudly on top.

Image: Karl Chitham

If you want to know more about Karl, currently employed as the new director of the Tauranga Art Gallery, do read the article here:

Given our choice of Robert Sullivan as our feature poet for this issue, Karl seemed the ideal choice for a cover artist. Especially as the two of us collaborated on the exhibition Fallen Empire (Dunedin: Blue Oyster Gallery) in 2012 (for which see more info here).

Robert Sullivan (2015)

There are many other people I would like to celebrate for their work on this issue: our administrator, Bronwyn Lloyd; our new social media guru, fiction and screen writer Matthew Harris; but our cover designer Anna Brown, of the Design Studio at Massey, deserves extra high praise for working to the narrowest of deadlines to come up with this wonderful cover for us:

Thanks, then, to one and all! The issue is now with the printers, and should be winging your way by the end of the month.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

LOUNGE #47 Reading (21/10/15)

The completion of the latest issue (Yearbook 2 / Issue #50) of Poetry NZ will be celebrated next week at one of the nzepc's celebrated LOUNGE readings in Old Government House, Auckland.

Here are the details of the event:


with readers:

Stu Bagby
Peter Bland
Roger Horrocks
Sophia Johnson
Michele Leggott
Bronwyn Lloyd
Vana Manasiadis
Elizabeth Morton
Lisa Samuels
Robert Sullivan

MC: Jack Ross

Wednesday 21st October, 5.30-7.00 pm

At Old Government House
Auckland University City Campus
corner of Princes St and Waterloo Quadrant

Free entry. Food and drinks for sale in the Buttery.
Information Michele Leggott, or 09 373 7599 ext. 87342

The LOUNGE readings are a continuing project of the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc), Auckland University Press and Auckland University English, Drama and Writing Studies, in association with the Staff Common Room Club at Old Government House, and — in this case — Poetry NZ.

See you there!

There will be a number of giveaways during the evening: free copies of Tender Girl, by Lisa Samuels; A Clearer View of the Hinterland, by Jack Ross; and a voucher for a free copy of the unfortunately-not-yet-back-from-the-printer Poetry NZ Yearbook 2.

Photos by Tim Page:

Lounge 47

Stu Bagby

Peter Bland

Roger Horrocks

Sophia Johnson

Michele Leggott

Bronwyn Lloyd

Vana Manasiadis

Liz Morton

Lisa Samuels

Robert Sullivan

MC: Jack Ross

Thursday 25 June 2015

Poetry NZ Yearbook now available as a pdf !

Jack Ross, ed: Poetry NZ Yearbook 1 (2014)

The Poetry NZ Yearbook 1 [issue #49] is now available as a pdf download from the Poetry NZ website.

Just go to the current issue page, and you'll find a link in the sidebar.

Nicholas Reid, ed: Poetry NZ 46 (2013)

As with issues 46, 47 and 48, which also have this feature enabled, there is a small charge of $NZ10.

Alistair Paterson, ed: Poetry NZ 47 (2013)

We hope that any of you who missed the print edition for any reason will be grateful to have it available in this form (I'm grateful, too, to be able to say that I'm relieved to have been able to correct a couple of typos in this version of the text!).

Nicholas Reid, ed: Poetry NZ 48 (2014)

Sunday 22 February 2015

Talking Cats and Other Creative Creatures [20/2/15]

Defining NZ 28 (Feb 2015): 28

The above feature article, by Jennifer Little, appeared in the February 2015 issue of Massey's Defining NZ magazine:

“Sparks of light in an ocean of stultifying babble, laser beams penetrating the Stygian darkness of our contemporary linguistic wasteland” – this bold vision is articulated by Dr Jack Ross in his introduction to the poems he chose in his debut as managing editor of the Poetry New Zealand yearbook.

Ross’s editorship of New Zealand’s longest-running poetry journal, which first appeared in 1951, marks a literary coup for Massey – and for the School of English and Media Studies – as its new publisher.

With poems by new and diverse voices – from one on bullying called "Life is Unfair" by an adolescent girl to a poetics professor and feature poet Lisa Samuels’ “extravagantly experimental” works of linguistic acrobatics, plus several translated from foreign languages and many more from local and international poets – Ross’s issue #49 was launched auspiciously on Halloween at the Albany campus and in Wellington in December.

The bumper selection of 117 poems by 93 poets was siphoned from well over a thousand submissions sent in via post and email. Two essays, a review and brief notices of 25 new poetry books and magazines are also included in a fatter new format published annually instead of the previous two slimmer volumes a year.

Ross took on the role after being approached by former editor Alistair Paterson and publisher John Denny. He’d been the feature poet and cover image on issue #22, and is the author of several works of experimental poetry, including City of Strange Brunettes (1998), Chantal's Book (2002), and To Terezin (2007), as well as in foreign languages with Celanie, (which he translated from German – via French – into English). He also co-edited the trilogy of audio and text anthologies Classic, Contemporary and New NZ Poets in Performance (AUP, 2006-8).

His desire to surprise and stimulate readers of Poetry New Zealand is exemplified in a poem by Christchurch-based Chinese poet Wei Sun. It contains Ross’s favourite line in the book; “Holy shit! A talking cat!” – from the poem titled "OCD and Conversations with Cat".

The poem’s quirky yet touching surrealism underscores his search for “a freshness of outlook. There has to be something about each poem that makes me ask the question; ‘Is this a poem?’”

Also in the limelight was Creative Writing senior lecturer Dr Thom Conroy’s debut novel The Naturalist (Random House), true story set in 19th century New Zealand, Germany and London about German naturalist, botanist and explorer Dr Ernst Dieffenbach. It topped the Nielsen Weekly bestseller list for New Zealand fiction for weeks.

Creative Writing tutor and award-winning fiction writer Tina Makereti’s novel Where the Rekohu Bone Sings (Random House) also made the Nielsen Weekly bestseller list and was widely acclaimed for its original take on the cross-cultural complexities of being Māori, Moriori and Pakeha.

Poetry collections by the head of Massey’s Spanish language programme Dr Leonel Alvarado and creative writing tutors Joy Green and Tim Upperton were published as the Kete series by Manawatū’s HauNui Press -– packaged in handmade flax kete.

Award-winning playwright and theatre lecturer Associate Professor Angie Farrow’s new book of short plays, Falling and other short plays (Steele Roberts) was launched in December amid a season of her plays performed in Palmerston North, with a new season planned for Wellington this year.

To top off an exceptional year, the school co-hosted the Australasian Association of Writing Programmes conference (AAWP) at the Wellington campus from November 30 to December 2, held back-to-back with a colloquium on “Placing the Personal Essay”.

The events attracted a swathe of New Zealand and Australian creative writing and teaching talent. The launch of the Aotearoa Creative Writing Research Network (ACWRN), developed by Thom Conroy, was a welcome initiative for those attending to connect more readily across distances as a community of academics, artists and teachers.

These are just highlights in a year of abundant literary output and success by staff and students, says Associate Professor Joe Grixti, head of the School of English and Media Studies.

“With numerous public readings, book signings, theatre performances, media interviews and reviews that accompany publication, Massey’s name is increasingly becoming synonymous – not just with agribusiness, veterinary science and social work – but with highly original creative writing.

“It's very timely for us to be nurturing provocative new voices and perspectives – we need creative ways to illuminate and understand the complexity of human experiences beyond the mainstream.”

Massey teaches a range of undergraduate creative papers internally and by distance (travel, fiction, poetry, theatre) as well as a Master of Creative Writing. For more information go to www.massey.ac.nz

Jennifer Little, Communications Advisor at Massey University

Friday 20 February 2015

Reviews of Stephen Oliver's Intercolonial available online

Stephen Oliver: Intercolonial (2013)

Celebrated NZ / transtasman poet Stephen Oliver writes in to say that a number of reviews of his recent book Intercolonial can now be accessed online:

  1. Patricia Prime for Takahe, NZ Poetry Journal

  2. Nicholas Reid for Antipodes: A Global Journal of Australian and New Zealand Literature, December 2014

  3. Stephen Conlon, Dean of the English Department, Assumption University, Bangkok, Thailand / Asian Journal of Literature, Culture & Society

  4. Denys Trussell on Beattie's Books Blog, August 2013

He also reminds me that his video poem "The Great Rogatus" is now available on youtube.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Upcoming Events: Sarah Broom Poetry Prize [6/3/15]

Sarah Broom


The Sarah Broom Poetry Prize aims to provide recognition for a New Zealand poet, and a financial contribution to support their work.

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).

Entries are now open and close at 5pm on 6 March 2015.

Now in its second year, the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize is run in conjunction with the Auckland Writers Festival. Shortlisted poets will be invited to read their poetry at a dedicated poetry event at the Festival in May 2015, where the winner will be announced.

In 2015 the guest judge is the Irish poet Vona Groarke. One of the leading Irish poets of her generation, Groarke has published six collections with Gallery Press, the latest being X, (2014), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Others include Spindrift (2010), Flight (2002), which won the Michael Hartnett Award, and her translation from Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill's eighteenth-­century Irish, Lament of Art O'Leary (2008), which is currently being adapted as an opera by Irish composer, Irene Buckley. Groarke teaches poetry in the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester in the U.K. and is the editor of Poetry Ireland Review.

The value of the prize in 2015 is $12,000.

For more information about the prize and Sarah Broom visit www.sarahbroom.co.nz.


The prize is awarded on the basis of an original collection of poems by a New Zealand resident or citizen. Entries will be accepted until 6 March 2015. Poets are required to submit 6‐8 poems, of which at least 5 must be unpublished.

Entries should be emailed to poetryprize@sarahbroom.co.nz

Any queries should be emailed to enquiries@sarahbroom.co.nz


Vona Groarke

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Scott Hamilton's PNZ essay available online

Scott Hamilton & Murray Edmond

If you're curious to see an illustrated version of Scott Hamilton's essay "Jumping in the Drink: Kiwi Poets in Tonga" [Poetry NZ Yearbook 1 (2014): ], you can find it here, on his well-known blog Reading the Maps.

A short extract from the piece, entitled "RAK Mason and the taste of kava," appeared there earlier in the year.

& with Richard von Sturmer