Poetry NZ Yearbook 2017


Design by Jo Bailey, Thomas Le Bas and Fay McAlpine /
Typeset by Kate Barraclough

Poetry NZ Yearbook 2017
Editor: Jack Ross

ISBN 978-0-9941363-5-0. 352 pp.

Auckland: Massey University Press, March 2017



  1. Jack Ross / Hands across the Tasman / 14

  2. Featured Poet:
  3. Elizabeth Morton / 22
    1. Invoking the muse, in the garden / 23
    2. Words / 24
    3. Where we go / 25
    4. Searching all creatures / 26
    5. Filling in the forms / 28
    6. Googling refugees / 29
    7. Distance / 30
    8. The bridge / 31
    9. fever / 32
    10. Taxing the ghost / 33
    11. The eating of sorrow / 34
    12. Husk / 35
    13. Yellow fruit / 36
    14. Sometimes I dream America / 38
    15. Black Jasmine / 39
    16. SPOILER: in the end everybody disappears / 40
    17. St Francis drunk dials his creatures / 42
    18. Losing you / 43
    19. An archeologist was here / 44
    20. Somebody else’s shoes / 45
    21. Reincarnation / 46
  4. Jack Ross / An Interview with Elizabeth Morton / 48

  5. New Poems:
  6. Raewyn Alexander / celebrating blank / 54
  7. Gary Allen / London buses / 55
  8. Emily Andersen / Wellington, 2014 / 56
  9. Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor / Tangihia Ngā Tamariki ā Papatūānuku (Angelwing) / 57
  10. Shelley Arlidge / My Vicious Eel / 58
  11. Nick Ascroft / Heraclitus’s Riddle / 59
  12. Stu Bagby / Two pheasants in the snow / Joined in / 60
  13. Helen Bascand / Holding Hands / 62
  14. Rebecca Beardsall / Molasses / 63
  15. Robert James Berry / Asylum / Commemorate Me / 64
  16. Harriet Beth / Word Forplay / 66
  17. Tony Beyer / after Hesiod / Plage / 67
  18. Tyler Bigney / Insomnia / Siam Reap / 69
  19. Iain Britton / from Enclosed in Parentheses (Love Songs by Numbers) / 72
  20. Victoria Broome / How We Talk to Each Other / 73
  21. Owen Bullock / Five hard cover books / 74
  22. Saskia Bunce-Rath / Small Hopes / 75
  23. Stephanie Christie / A Season in Healthcare / 76
  24. Mary Cresswell / Where the Sandstone Came from / 78
  25. Adam Day / White Clouds in Dark Valleys / 79
  26. Doc Drumheller / Ode to a Turkey Buzzard / 80
  27. Johanna Emeney / Fight / Trashed / 82
  28. Riemke Ensing / Light / Not any old playground / 85
  29. Sue Fitchett / Journeys with books / 87
  30. Callum Gentleman / Dunedin / 89
  31. Rata Gordon / Celestial Bodies / 91
  32. Susan Green / Love Poem / 94
  33. Vaughan Gunson / Michelangelo’s Poems / 95
  34. Emma Harris / Frank / 96
  35. Paula Harris / there is a scratch on the inside of my right knee / 98
  36. René Harrison / Jazz Singer: For Caitlin Smith / 100
  37. Mohamed Hassan / the cyst / 101
  38. Trevor Hayes / Checkout / 103
  39. Helen Heath / The girl with the mouse-like eyes / 104
  40. Elsbeth Hill / Hoarder / 105
  41. Alice Hooton / Memoriam / 107
  42. Gail Ingram / The parameters / 108
  43. Rata Ingram / Science Fair, Age 10 / 109
  44. Anna Jackson / Whale and barnacles / 110
  45. Ross Jackson / When they ask him / 112
  46. Abriana Jetté / Breaking Fast / 113
  47. Richard Jordan / Paper Sailboat / 114
  48. Robert Kempen / Beehive Precinct / 115
  49. Sid Khanzode / My Struggle / 116
  50. Raina Kingsley / Initiates / 117
  51. Leonard Lambert / Gotten Island / 118
  52. Wes Lee / The Players Are Dead / 119
  53. Michele Leggott / Emily and Her Sisters / 122
  54. Louise Lever / Skin tags / 127
  55. Liang Yujing / Raindrops / 128
  56. Olivia Macassey / The reason why I didn’t call this poem Ariadne on Naxos / 129
  57. Andrew McIntyre / Dinosaurs / Sonnet 8 / 130
  58. Caoimhe McKeogh / to touch / 132
  59. Mary Macpherson / The Friend / 133
  60. Owen Marshall / Monk Sherborne / In Defiance of Poverty / 134
  61. Carol Millner / Renting / 136
  62. Margi Mitcalfe / neglected gifts / 137
  63. Margaret Moores / Foresight / 138
  64. Joshua Morris / La Petite Mort / 139
  65. Idoya Munn / I wish I could live in the sky / 140
  66. Janet Newman / Sparrows / Suddenly Rabbit / 141
  67. Dot Nicholson / Waiting in Hospital / 143
  68. Heidi North-Bailey / Five years later / 144
  69. Keith Nunes / scatterlings over Golden Bay / 146
  70. Jessamine O Connor / Original Sin / 147
  71. Charles Olsen / When you least expect / 148
  72. Chris Parsons / A Song for Ian Paisley / 149
  73. I. K. Paterson-Harkness / Crows only laugh in Tokyo / 150
  74. Kiri Piahana-Wong / Lithium / 151
  75. Joanna Preston / Spelunking / 152
  76. Hayden Pyke / You Say You Got to Leave Someone / 154
  77. Vaughan Rapatahana / tō tero i te haki o ingarangi – screw the flag of England / 155
  78. Sahanika Ratnayake / Murmur / 157
  79. Nicholas Reid / After Fog / 159
  80. Edward Reilly / Letters from Kraków / 160
  81. Ron Riddell / Ezra Pound at St Elizabeths Hospital / 162
  82. David Romanda / Dear Jesus / 163
  83. Jo-Ella Sarich / Introverts’ party / 164
  84. L. E. Scott / Dust to Dust / 165
  85. Kerrin P. Sharpe / the projector ruled / 166
  86. Emma Shi / it’s okay to lie if you mean it / it wasn’t her, it was you / 168
  87. Sarah Shirley / Cognitive Assessment / 170
  88. Antonia Smith / Miracles / 171
  89. Elizabeth Smither / The name in the freezer / 172
  90. Courtney Speedy / Untitled / 173
  91. Michael Steven / Tower ’96 / 177
  92. Bill Sutton / The Khaki and Black Tour / 178
  93. Richard Taylor / Considerations / 179
  94. Loren Thomas / Endo / 180
  95. Nicola Thorstensen / Dunedin Selfies / 182
  96. Iva Vemić / The Savage Truth / 183
  97. Suzanne Verrall / A poem is not a tree … / 184
  98. Devon Webb / Note to Self / 185
  99. Mercedes Webb-Pullman / Housework / 189
  100. Anna Woods / Makings / 190
  101. Mark Young / A Line from Bashar al-Assad / 191
  102. Karen Zelas / Paraparaumu / 192

  103. Essays:
  104. Janet Charman / A piece of why / 196
  105. Lisa Samuels / Affective mind and blood language and Stephanie Christie / 214
  106. Bryan Walpert / ‘The zodiac of his own wit’: Poetry and History (or, how to write a good lyric poem about history) / 230

  107. Reviews:
  108. Mary Cresswell / Ron Riddell - Barry Southam - MaryJane Thomson - Jessica Wilkinson / 248
    • Ron Riddell. Dance of Blue Dragonflies. ISBN 978-0-473-33974-6. Auckland: Printable Reality, 2016. RRP $25. 76 pp.
    • Barry Southam. Exits and Entrances: Stories and Poems. ISBN 978-0-9941295-9-8. Nelson: Copy Press Books, 2016. RRP $19.95. 136 pp.
    • MaryJane Thomson. Lonely Earth. ISBN 978-0-473-33973-9. Wellington: HeadworX, 2015. RRP $30. 90 pp.
    • Jessica L. Wilkinson. Suite for Percy Grainger: A Biography. ISBN 978-1-922181-20-6. Sydney: Vagabond Press, 2014. RRP AU$25. 136 pp.
  109. Hamish Dewe / Helen Jacobs - Heidi North-Bailey - Keith Westwater / 258
    • Helen Jacobs. Withstanding. ISBN 978-0-9941172-8-1. Hoopla Series. Wellington: Mākaro Press, 2016. RRP $25. 58 pp.
    • Heidi North-Bailey. Possibility of Flight. ISBN 978-0-9941299-2-5. Submarine Poetry. Wellington: Mākaro Press, 2015. RRP $25. 76 pp.
    • Keith Westwater. Felt Intensity. ISBN 978-0-9941299-1-8. Submarine Poetry. Wellington: Mākaro Press, 2015. RRP $25. 76 pp.
  110. Rachael Elliott / Ken Canning / Burraga Gutya - Sudesh Mishra - Raewyn Alexander / 266
    • Ken Canning — Burraga Gutya. Yimbama. ISBN 978-1-922181-43-5. Sydney: Vagabond Press, 2015. RRP AU$25. 97 pp.
    • Sudesh Mishra. The Lives of Coat Hangers. ISBN 978-1-927322-37-6. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2016. RRP $25. 100 pp.
    • Raewyn Alexander. Our Mother Flew Unassisted. ISBN 978-0-473-26666-0. Auckland: Brightspark Books, 2016. RRP $22. 64 pp.
  111. Johanna Emeney / Chris Price - Gregory Kan / 272
    • Chris Price. Beside Herself. ISBN 978-1-86940-846-6. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2016. RRP $24.99. 120 pp.
    • Gregory Kan. This Paper Boat. ISBN 978-1-86940-845-9. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2016. RRP $24.99. 84 pp.
  112. Matthew Harris / Life is Not a Journey: Michael O’Leary / 279
    • Michael O’Leary. Main Trunk Lines: Collected Railway Poems. ISBN 978-0-473-32917-4. Wellington: HeadworX, 2015. RRP $25. 80 pp.
  113. Joshua Morris / Vaughan Gunson - Nicholas Reid / 284
    • Vaughan Gunson. Big Love Songs. ISBN 978-0-473334-49-9. Whangarei: Vaughan Gunson, 2016. RRP $30. 50 pp.
    • Nicholas Reid. Mirror World. ISBN 978-0-947493-10-3. Wellington: Steele Roberts Aotearoa, 2016. RRP $19.99. 83 pp.
  114. Janet Newman / Pam Brown / 288
    • Pam Brown. Missing Up. ISBN 978-1-922181-50-3. Sydney: Vagabond Press, 2015. RRP AU$25. 160 pp.
  115. Jessica Pawley / Harvey Molloy / 291
    • Harvey Molloy. Udon by the Remarkables. ISBN 978-0-9941172-9-8. Hoopla Series. Wellington: Mākaro Press, 2016. RRP $25. 78 pp.
  116. Jack Ross / Nicholas Williamson - Antonios Papaspiropoulos - Cilla McQueen - Jen Crawford / 293
    • Nicholas Williamson. The Blue Outboard: New and Selected Poems. ISBN 978-0-473-32059-1. Port Chalmers: Black Doris Press, 2016. RRP $15. 93 pp.
    • Antonios Papaspiropoulos. Poems from the George Wilder Cottage: A Poetry Cycle. Southbank, VIC: St Antoni Publishing, 2015. RRP AU$35. 72 pp.
    • Cilla McQueen. In a Slant Light: A Poet’s Memoir. ISBN 978-1-877578-71-7. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2016. RRP $35. 135 pp.
    • Jen Crawford. Koel. Introduction by Divya Victor. ISBN 978-0-9942596-8-4. Melbourne: Cordite Books, 2016. xiv + 81 pp. RRP AU$20.00.
  117. Ila Selwyn / Ken Bolton - Pete Carter / 303
    • Ken Bolton. London Journal London Poem, or ‘Pendant’. ISBN 978-1-922181-61-9. Sydney: Vagabond Press, 2015. RRP AU$20. 68 pp.
    • Pete Carter. Buddy’s Brother. ISBN 978-0-9941299-0-1. Submarine Poetry. Wellington: Mākaro Press, 2015. RRP $30. 62 pp.
  118. Richard Taylor / Ish Doney - Lynley Edmeades / 306
    • Ish Doney. Where the fish grow. ISBN 978-0-9941237-1-8. Hoopla Series. Wellington: Mākaro Press, 2016. RRP $25. 50 pp.
    • Lynley Edmeades. As the Verb Tenses. ISBN 978-1-927322-25-3. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2016. RRP $25. 64 pp.
  119. Steven Toussaint / Tomaž Šalamun / 312
    • Tomaž Šalamun. Justice. 2012. Translated from the Slovenian by Michael Thomas Taren and Tomaž Šalamun. European Poetry. ISBN 978-1-922181-10-7. Sydney: Vagabond Press, 2013. RRP $AUS 25. 78 pp.

  120. Books & Magazines in brief:
  121. Jack Ross / 318
    1. brief 54: Love. Ed. Olivia Macassey. ISSN 1175-9313. Pokeno, Auckland: The Writers Group, 2016. RRP $20. 136 pp.
    2. John Dickson. Mister Hamilton. ISBN 978-1-86940-855-8. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2016. RRP $24.99. 84 pp.
    3. Michael Harlow. Nothing for it but to sing. ISBN 978-1-927322-62-8. Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2016. RRP $25. 64 pp.
    4. IKA 4: Journal of Literature and Art. Ed. Anne Kennedy. ISSN 2253-5993. Manukau: MIT, 2016. RRP $27.99. vi + 146 pp.
    5. JAAM 33: Small Departures. Ed. Kiri Piahana-Wong and Rosetta Allan. ISSN 1173-633X. Wellington: JAAM Collective, 2015. RRP $25. 147 pp.
    6. Polina Kouzminova. An echo where you lie. ISBN 978-0-9941299-4-9. Submarine Poetry. Wellington: Mākaro Press, 2016. RRP $25. 47 pp.
    7. Frankie McMillan. My Mother and the Hungarians and Other Small Fictions. ISBN 978-1-927145-87-6. Christchurch: Canterbury University Press, 2016. RRP $25. 114 pp.

  122. About the Contributors / 326

    About Poetry New Zealand / 348

Elizabeth Morton

Hands Across the Tasman

An interesting package arrived in my Massey University pigeonhole late last year. It was a large cardboard box packed full of books. They’d all come from the same publisher, Vagabond Press of Sydney (and Tokyo). Among others, there were ten small chapbooks from the decibel series (selected and edited by senior Australian poet Pam Brown), as well as six volumes of the Asia-Pacific Poetry series, a set of anthologies covering different poetries (in translation), each showcasing the work of three representative poets from a particular region.

There was also a bookmark at the bottom of the box. It read:
Please review our books. Shouting from the rooftops wasn’t as effective as we hoped.
I’ve done my best to respond to this heartfelt plea. I can’t promise to have included a review of every single title, but certainly the lion’s share are discussed here, along with the usual bumper crop of local books and journals.

More than a third of this issue is, in fact, devoted to reviews and essays, and that’s a trend I hope will continue. We can’t review everything, but the fact that we’ve been able to include discussions of poets from places as diverse as Australia, China and Slovenia — as well as New Zealand, of course — gives some indication of the kind of scope we aspire to.

The box of books was sent, I suspect, as a direct result of the contacts and friendships which have been growing up over the past few years between Australian and New Zealand poets. The work (among many others) of Michele Leggott at the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre and Anna Jackson at Victoria University in arranging symposia in Auckland, Wellington, Sydney and Melbourne has certainly made helped to make some of us more familiar with one another’s work.

I have to say I was blown away by the scope and self-confidence of the poets published by Vagabond Press (including, I should add, our own Stephanie Christie, whose work is discussed in greater detail in this issue in Lisa Samuels’ essay). No doubt it was Pam Brown herself who arranged to have them sent to me. It was great to see one of her own books in there as well.

It did get me thinking about the nature of the links between the two places, however. I myself am half-Australian (or so I like to claim). My mother was born and brought up in Chatswood, Sydney, and came over to New Zealand in her mid-twenties to get a job as a hospital house surgeon. She met my father in Hamilton, and the rest is history.

History of a kind, at any rate. While my father’s father, a Scot, was serving in minesweepers during World War I, my other grandfather fought as an Australian infantryman on the Western Front. I was lucky enough to meet him a few times on our trips across the Tasman, but not, alas, my Scottish grandfather, who died during World War II.

Australia is so different from New Zealand, in so many ways: so incomparably more ancient, so culturally distinct. True, growing up, Norman Lindsay’s Magic Pudding became as familiar to us as Alice in Wonderland (I continue to see it as just as great a work). I do find it interesting, though, that my mother still considers herself a proud Australian, despite having lived in New Zealand for sixty-odd years: more than twice as long as she lived in the country of her birth. Mind you, she cheers for the All Blacks over the Wallabies.

But there remains a deep Australianness in her: little things like the flat ‘a’s’ in branch and can’t, but also a stubborn frankness and refusal to mince words — none of the face-saving, mealy-mouthed timidity of so much New Zealand speech.

I was fortunate enough to be able to study in Scotland for four years in the late 1980s. Edinburgh remains (with Prague) one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. Perhaps the most important thing I learnt there was, however (as I put it in a poem at the time): ‘I am not / A Scot.’

My heritage is Scottish, my father’s parents were Scottish, but he was born in Rawene, in the Far North, and, as a result, I am a New Zealander in every way that counts.

Similarly, my mother’s Australian background has gifted me with various relatives and a number of fine memories from over there: the Blue Mountains from a distance, the grandeur of Sydney Harbour. But I’m not Australian.

I’ve been shocked by many acts of the Australian government over the past few years: the razor-wire fences holding in refugees, the prison camps at Nauru and elsewhere. It’s hard not to want to speak out about such things. But I take it for granted that that’s precisely what Australian writers and dissidents do all the time. We may not hear much of that on the TV here, but those voices are audible on some of the more adventurous news outlets available to us now in the digital age.

If they need any help with that, they have only to ask. But I don’t feel my sentimental Australianness gives me any right to butt in as some kind of self-appointed judge. It’s not as if we don’t have our own fair share of horrors to apologise for and attempt to atone for on this side of the sea that divides (and/or unifies?) us.

All of which brings me to my choice of a poet to feature in this issue. I first encountered Liz Morton when she sent me some poems out of the blue. This was before I’d started to edit Poetry New Zealand, but I think she’d been advised to by one of my Creative Writing students here at Massey.

There’s always a certain trepidation in looking at other people’s poetry for the first time. What if you don’t like it? What if you can’t think of anything to say? But I did like it. Somewhat to my surprise, I found that it really spoke to me.

That must have been some time in 2013, because shortly after that, and after meeting her in person, I asked her to read at our Open Day here at the Auckland campus. She read almost as beautifully as she wrote, and it came as little surprise when she won the New Voices Emerging Poet Competition later that year.

There’s an important balance we try to uphold in Poetry New Zealand between (as we say in our blurb): ‘the work of talented newcomers and developing writers as well as that of established leaders in the field’. This has been the case since the magazine’s inception, and it’s a principle which was observed faithfully by Alistair Paterson, my predecessor as editor.

The poet I encountered in 2013 could certainly have been called a ‘talented newcomer’: her work was powerful and raw and close to the bone, but not (perhaps) as nuanced as it has now become. While I suppose one should still refer to her as a ‘developing writer’, I see the poems she’s writing now as a solid contribution to the New Zealand poetic archipelago.

I guess it’s her blend of the personal and political that I find particularly relevant at present. It’s risky to comment on developing news stories, as she does in such poems as ‘Googling refugees’. ‘Who am I to talk?’ is the question that undercuts such pieces. But waiting until one has a bit of tranquillity to contemplate the experience (to paraphrase Wordsworth’s description of the lyric) unfortunately also often entails leaving it too late:
the children were flotsam.
... they were silty smiles
and ponytailed heads and cleft palates
and birth marks. they were real deal
children and, yes, we saved them

on the hard-drives of our smartphones
and uploaded them to YouTube.

it really was the least we could do.
I think that makes the point perfectly. We need to speak out, but we also need to be very, very careful just how we speak out. If that sounds somewhat less than stirring, not altogether resonant, well, hey, that’s poetry for you: always second-guessing itself.

Elizabeth Morton second-guesses herself with elegance and wit on the lip of an abyss of real, thoroughly lived-through experience. I hope it’s obvious by now that I go to her poems to learn, not to judge — and if I’d ever thought there was anything I could teach her, the illusion was a short-lived one: it lasted about as long as it took to open that first file of poems.

Speaking of judging, I think it’s now time to move on to the announcement you’ve all been waiting for (though no doubt most of you have already seen it online): the Poetry NZ Poetry Prize. It was a very hard job, with so many stellar entries, but I’ve ended up with the following choices:
First prize ($500):Emma Shi,
for ‘it’s okay to lie if you mean it’ (page 168 in this issue)
Second prize ($300):Devon Webb,
for ‘Note to Self’ (page 185)
Third prize ($200):Hayden Pyke,
for ‘You Say You Got to Leave Someone’ (p.154)
There’s a delicacy and beauty in Emma Shi’s work which leaves me in awe. I think I understand enough of what she’s driving at in this poem for it to terrify me, too. Pity and awe — isn’t that close to Burke’s definition of the sublime?

Devon Webb’s poem is more infectious and anthemic, but it conceals a certain subtlety beneath its apparent self-assurance: a very impressive debut in Poetry New Zealand for this young writer.

Hayden Pyke’s lyric is one of three interesting short poems he sent in. It seems to me to hit a lot of marks simultaneously, a considerable feat of legerdemain.

As part of the changes necessitated by the shift to our new publisher, Massey University Press, we will be selling each annual issue separately in future, and no longer as part of a one- or two-year subscription. Our existing obligations under the old subscriptions policy will, of course, be fulfilled, but Poetry New Zealand Yearbook will henceforth be sold through the MUP website, as well (of course) as in good bookshops everywhere.

Our thanks go out to all of those valiant subscribers who have kept the magazine afloat for so many years. It goes without saying that we’re still going to need your support to continue, but it now seems more practical to market each issue as a discrete item, rather than as part of a package.

You can find fuller details of all this on both our Poetry New Zealand website and the MUP website:

And so, in conclusion, I’m very glad Pam sent me that box of books. I can’t promise to manage quite so many reviews in the future for any similarly enterprising small publishers, but I’ll certainly continue to do my best.

Shouting from the rooftops really doesn’t work very well long-term. All writers depend on getting sound, well-considered reviews from their peers, and I feel that’s at least as important a part of Poetry New Zealand’s remit as providing a showcase for so many poets, young and old (97 — by my count — in this issue alone).

— Jack Ross
December 2016

My mother feeding a wallaby (c. 1939)


  • Raewyn Alexander lives in Grey Lynn, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, where she writes, teaches and works occasionally as an actor. Our Mother Flew Unassisted (Brightspark Books), a poetry collection ranging across nine years of work, was launched in 2016. Glam Rock Boyfriends, an imaginary memoir, was published in 2015; some stories have also published elsewhere or broadcast on RNZ National.
  • Gary Allen has published fourteen collections, most recently Jackson’s Corner (Greenwich Exchange, 2016). A new collection, Mapland, will be published soon by Clemson University Press, South Carolina. Allen's poetry has been published widely in international literary magazines, including Australian Book Review, Meanjin, Westerly and Poetry New Zealand.
  • Emily Andersen is a Melbourne poet who sometimes lives in Wellington, and has recently completed her MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Emily was mentored by the late Australian poet Dorothy Porter between 2004 and 2005, and made her Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut in 2012 with her one-woman spoken-word show Love in the Key of Britpop. She has performed her poetry on BBC 6 Music, as well as at festivals and spoken-word events in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor is in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Waikato. Her work has appeared in Starling, Mayhem and Tearaway thanks to the tireless support and encouragement of some of the best people on this great watery rock.
  • Shelley Arlidge works as a gardener at Pompallier Mission in Russell. She won Massey University’s R. G. Frean Prize in 2006, and has been published in Landfall.
  • Nick Ascroft is practically the Poet Laureate of Oamaru, a new Janet Frame if you will — or would like to be, if Fiona Farrell could gracefully make way. His latest collection, Back With the Human Condition, was published in 2016 by Victoria University Press.
  • Stu Bagby was born in Te Kopuru in 1947. His first solo collection, As It Was in the Beginning, was nominated by the Sunday Star-Times as one of the best books of 2005. He has since published two more collections through Steele Roberts. He recently finished his first play, Ricochet.
  • Helen Bascand was a stalwart of the Canterbury poetry scene, and the author of three poetry collections: windows on the morning side (Sudden Valley Press, 2001), into the vanishing point (Steele Roberts, 2007) and Nautilus (Pegasus Poets, 2013). An award-winning writer of poetry and haiku, Helen died in 2015. Her posthumous fourth collection will be published in 2017.
  • Rebecca Beardsall is currently in her second year of the MFA program at Western Washington University. She has more than fifteen years’ experience in freelance writing in the United States and abroad. Her poetry has been published in various literary journals, including Common Ground Review, Amaranth and Origyns. She has written and co-edited three books: Philadelphia Reflections: Stories from the Delaware to the Schuylkill; Western Pennsylvania Reflections: Stories from the Alleghenies to Lake Erie; and Western Washington Reflections: Stories from the Puget Sound to Vancouver.
  • Robert James Berry lives and writes in Dunedin. His work has been published widely. His latest collection, Gorgeous, appeared recently from Sylph Editions, London.
  • Harriet Beth is a twenty-three-year-old from Wales who begun travelling at the start of 2016, with New Zealand as her first destination. She has fallen in love with the country, and the experiences and opportunities travel has provided her have inspired much of her recent writing. She’s not quite sure what’s next, but is excited to continue exploring the world, pen in hand.
  • Tony Beyer is a writer in Taranaki whose recent work has appeared in Kokako, Otoliths, Poetry New Zealand and takahē.
  • Tyler Bigney lives in Nova Scotia, Canada. His fiction and poetry has appeared in various journals and magazines in both North America and internationally, including Pearl, Nashwaak Review and Iodine.
  • Iain Britton writes: ‘Since 2008, I’ve had five collections of poems published, mainly in the UK, Australia and in Aotearoa New Zealand. Most of my poetry is published in those countries, too.’
  • Victoria Broome is a Christchurch writer who works in primary-care mental health. She has been published in the Chook book, Big sky, my garden, my paradise and land very fertile anthologies, and in Sport, Landfall, The Press, takahē, JAAM, Blackmail Press and The Quick Brown Dog.
  • Owen Bullock’s publications include urban haiku (Recent Work Press, 2015) and sometimes the sky isn’t big enough (Steele Roberts, 2010). He won the Canberra Critics’ Circle Award for Poetry in 2015. He is a PhD candidate in creative writing at the University of Canberra.
  • Saskia Bunce-Rath is very secretive with her poems and rarely shows them to people. She has a BFA from Elam, and likes it when things are quiet.
  • Janet Charman, a prizewinning poet, has contributed an essay to this issue of Poetry New Zealand on the critical legacy of Allen Curnow, as informed by her reading of the Matrixial theories of Bracha Ettinger. Charman’s most recent collection, At the White Coast (AUP, 2012), was a memoir of a year working in London during the Thatcher era.
  • Stephanie Christie writes: ‘My work can be heard on NZEPC’s Six-Pack Sound, and my books can be found through my website ( My interest in form continues to mutate. At the moment I’m playing with hand-drawn words in poetic slices, and sharing them on Instagram (@stephaniejoychristie).’
  • Mary Cresswell is from Los Angeles and lives on the Kāpiti Coast. She is a retired science editor/ tech writer. Canterbury University Press published her most recent book, Fish Stories, in 2015. Her work has appeared in Snorkel, Blackbird, The Ghazal Page, Poetry New Zealand and takahē.
  • Adam Day is the author of the collection of poetry Model of a City in Civil War (Sarabande Books, 2015), and the recipient of a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship for Badger, Apocrypha, and of a PEN Emerging Writers Award. His work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Poetry London, American Poetry Review, Cordite, Iowa Review, Sweet Mammalian, Boston Review, Turbine and elsewhere. He also directs the Baltic Writing Residency in Sweden, Scotland and Blackacre State Nature Preserve.
  • Hamish Dewe edited brief 43 in 2011. He was, back in the day, an editor of Salt (the Auckland one).
  • Doc Drumheller was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and has lived in New Zealand for more than half his life. He has worked in award-winning groups for theatre and music, and has published ten collections of poetry. His poems have been translated into more than twenty languages, and he has performed in Cuba, Lithuania, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Japan, India, the United States, Nicaragua, and widely throughout New Zealand. He lives in Oxford, in Canterbury, where he edits and publishes the literary journal Catalyst.
  • Rachael Elliott has an MA in creative writing from the University of Waikato. In 2015 she was editor of Nexus Magazine (which received three Aotearoa Student Press Association awards), and she won the 2degrees Poetry Slam. Her work has appeared in previous issues of Poetry New Zealand, Mayhem, 4th Floor and JAAM. Rachael is also a weekly columnist for Nexus and is on Mayhem’s editorial board. She lives in Raglan.
  • Johanna Emeney is an Aucklander. She co-facilitates the Michael King Young Writers Programme with Rosalind Ali and teaches creative writing at Massey University. Her second collection of poetry, Family History, will be published in 2017 by Mākaro Press.
  • Riemke Ensing was born in Groningen, The Netherlands, in 1939. With her parents, she immigrated to New Zealand at the age of twelve in 1951. At this stage of her life she spoke no English. In 1967 she was appointed as a tutor in the Department of English at the University of Auckland, where she taught until 1999. She has since been appointed an Honorary Research Fellow (Faculty of Arts), and in 2002 was a Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellow. Her poetry is represented extensively in anthologies, and her work has appeared in many publications both in New Zealand and overseas. In 2012 Ensing won the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for Poetry.
  • Sue Fitchett is a conservationist and a Waiheke Islander. Sue is the co-author or editor of several poetry books, and authored Palaver Lava Queen (AUP, 2004) and On the Wing (Steele Roberts, 2014). Her work has appeared in various publications in New Zealand and Australia, and has been performed at art shows.
  • Callum Gentleman is a musician and poet. He is also one half of Panhandlers, a spoken-word/prepared guitar duo with Joel Vinsen. He has featured at many events around the country, including Escape! Festival Tauranga, Wellington LitCrawl, Poetry in Motion, Poetry Live, Inside Out, Printable Realities’ Pop Up Poets, Poetry Brothel and The Kerouac Effect. His writing has been published in Blackmail Press and Side Stream. He was once co-winner of The Metonomy Project’s ‘cutest couple’ award.
  • Rata Gordon lives on Waiheke Island and coordinates an arts and youth development programme. Rata’s poems have found homes in a number of literary journals, including Landfall, JAAM, Sport, Blackmail Press and Sweet Mammalian.
  • Susan Green is a psychotherapist, gardener and writer. She lives in West Auckland and works in Auckland city. She has previously had work published in Poetry New Zealand, and is grateful for the time when she was mentored by Owen Bullock.
  • Vaughan Gunson is a writer living in Hikurangi, north of Whāngārei. His poems have been published widely, including in the New Zealand Listener, JAAM, takahē, Poetry New Zealand and Cordite. A recent collection, Big Love Songs (reviewed in this issue), is available by emailing
  • Emma Harris has been on a writing hiatus since 2008 when her last poems appeared as text art in the exhibition Mixed Metaphors at Corban’s Estate Gallery in association with the Going West Literature Festival.
  • Matthew Harris has a PhD in English from Massey University, and works as a senior tutor in Massey University’s School of English and Media Studies. He is a writer of poems, fiction and short films: 43000 Feet (2012), Snooze Time (2014) and Madam Black (2015) have travelled the international film festival circuit from Rhode Island and Tribeca in the United States to Clermont-Ferrand festival in France, accruing various awards.
  • Paula Harris is a poet who dances Argentine tango, or a tango dancer who teaches Pilates, or a Pilates instructor who writes poetry. It depends on the time of day. Her work has previously appeared in Broadsheet, takahē, New Zealand Listener, Poetry New Zealand, Snorkel and other journals.
  • René Harrison writes: ‘Modest humanitarian, philanthropist and glamorous adventurer, René began writing poetry at the age of five, when he mistook a fog-covered magnolia tree outside his bedroom window for the three Graeae sisters of Medusa. Notorious for his challenging work on the Auckland performance scene, René’s poems appear in brief, takahē, Wordgatherings and Shot Glass Journal. He has taught literature and rhetoric and composition at the University of Auckland and at Purdue University, Indiana. Blind epistemology and disability studies inform his work on the poetics of visual impairment and “complex embodiment”.’
  • Mohamed Hassan is a poet and radio journalist, who was born in Cairo and has been a resident of Auckland since 1997. He is a TEDx speaker, and the 2015 National Poetry Slam Champion. He is a co-founder of the Waxed Poetic Revival.
  • Trevor Hayes lives and works in Punakaiki. He has had poems published in JAAM, Sport, Landfall, Poetry New Zealand and takahē.
  • Helen Heath’s debut collection of poetry, Graft, was published in May 2012 by VUP. It won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry in 2013, and was the first book of fiction or poetry to be shortlisted for the Royal Society of NZ Science Book Prize, also in 2013. Her poems, essays, articles and reviews have appeared in journals and magazines here and overseas. She is currently working toward her PhD in Creative Writing at Victoria University. Her PhD research project explores how science is represented in the work of post-war, contemporary UK poets writing at the turn of the millennium.
  • Elsbeth Hill is a printmaker and proprietor of Redemption Arts and Education Services. She facilitates visual arts, performing arts and living skills. She also mentors prison artists at Northland Region Corrections Facility who are unlocking creativity as a vehicle for rehabilitation and reintegration. Her work has appeared previously in Poetry New Zealand.
  • Alice Hooton’s first book of poetry, Shamfeign, was published by Brightspark Books in 2011. She lives in Auckland’s Mairangi Bay, and is involved in the eternal struggle between family and finding time to write.
  • Gail Ingram’s poetry and short stories have appeared in journals and anthologies in New Zealand and overseas. In 2016 she won the New Zealand Poetry Society poetry competition, was a finalist for Best Small Fictions, and was shortlisted in the Fish Short Story Prize. In 2015 she was nominated for the Pushcart short fiction prize and was runner-up in the takahē poetry competition. She recently completed her MA in Creative Writing at Massey University.
  • Rata Ingram’s first poem was published in the School Journal when she was seven. Recently, she has joined South Island Writers’ Association as the youngest member, and is enjoying extending the range of genres she writes. As a student of physics, much of her writing reflects this theme. She was shortlisted for the 2016 New Zealand Heritage Poetry Prize, and read at the 2016 National Flash Fiction Day.
  • Anna Jackson has published six collections of poetry, most recently I, Clodia (Auckland University Press, 2014). She lives in Island Bay, Wellington, and lectures in English at Victoria University of Wellington.
  • Ross Jackson is a retired teacher who lives in Perth, Western Australia. He has had poetry published in many literary journals and on the web. Aloneness, aging and life in the suburbs are recurring themes in his work.
  • Abriana Jetté is a poet, essayist and educator from Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Seneca Review, Plume Poetry Journal, Hermeneutic Chaos, Barrelhouse, and many other places.
  • Richard Jordan writes: ‘I dedicate the poem “Paper Sailboat” published herein entirely to my mother. I wrote this poem for her before she passed away, and I’ll always love and miss her.’
  • Robert Kempen lives in Auckland. His work has appeared in Poetry New Zealand and brief. Currently, he is working on an eighty-page piece, ‘The sun as eyes’, which is nearly completed.
  • Sid Khanzode writes: ‘If the world would let me: I would rather be a nameless poet, seeking aimlessly. That is where it comes from. But for this world, whose two lands I shuttle — Indian and New Zealand — with rather glee, I take a name. Given, I guess. Yet still. Thirty-one and I think I conquer loneliness — writing, which I have been doing since five on twenty! My writing has appeared in pages of brief 54 and 53, very recently.’
  • Raina Kingsley: ‘Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe, Ngāti Kahungunu. Born 5 June 1962. Brought up in Hawke’s Bay. Living in Christchurch since 1988. I have had poems published in Leaving the Red Zone and Quakes and Community.’
  • Leonard Lambert’s latest collection is Somewhere in August: Selected poems 1969–2016 (Steele Roberts, 2016).
  • Wes Lee, a long-time Wellingtonian, now lives in Auckland. Her debut poetry collection Shooting gallery (Steele Roberts) was launched in Wellington in August 2016. Her chapbook of short fiction Cowboy Genes was published by Grist Books at The University of Huddersfield in 2014. She was the recipient of the 2010 BNZ Katherine Mansfield Literary Award, and has won a number of awards for her writing both internationally and in New Zealand. Her poems have appeared in a variety of publications, including The London Magazine, Poetry London, Cordite, Westerly, The Stony Thursday Book and Landfall.
  • Michele Leggott was the inaugural NZ Poet Laureate under the National Library scheme (2007–8), was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009 for her services to poetry, and in 2013 received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry. She is an award-winning poet, a founding director of the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre, and a professor in the University of Auckland’s Department of English.
  • Louise Lever is an artist and writer based in Melbourne. She holds an MFA (Hons) from Elam School of Fine Arts. Her work was selected as a finalist in the 24th Annual Wallace Art Awards and the 2015 National Contemporary Art Awards. Recent exhibitions include New Perspectives, Artspace, 2016. She has an upcoming show at Enjoy Public Art Gallery in May 2017.
  • Liang Yujing grew up in China and came to New Zealand in 2014 as a PhD candidate at Victoria University of Wellington. His poems and translations have appeared in a number of magazines across the world, recently in Poetry New Zealand, JAAM, Sport and takahē. His collaborator, Julian Farmer, is a British poet and translator from several languages, especially French, Classical Greek, Latin, Russian and now a little Chinese. Publications featuring Yujing’s work include Staple, The London Magazine, Acumen, The Shop, Agenda, Stand Magazine and Modern Poetry in Translation.
  • Olivia Macassey’s poetry has appeared in various publications in New Zealand, and her second book of poems, The Burnt Hotel, was published in 2015 by Titus. She currently edits brief, and lives in Northland. Her website is
  • Andrew McIntyre lives in Havelock North with his partner and two sons. He has had writing previously published in takahē and Poetry New Zealand.
  • Caoimhe McKeogh is twenty-two years old. She studies English literature at Wellington’s Victoria University, and works in disability community support. Her previous work has appeared in, among others, Headland and Landfall, and she was the recipient of Headland’s 2015 Frontier Prize.
  • Mary Macpherson is a Wellington poet and photographer. Her work has appeared in many print and online journals. She blogs at
  • Owen Marshall has published or edited thirty books, including three volumes of his poetry. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Canterbury, which awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in 2002. In 2013 he received the Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction.
  • Carol Millner (née Stevenson) moved to Western Australia from New Zealand in 2005. Her poetry and short stories have been published in a range of West Australian anthologies and journals. A sample of Carol’s work was shortlisted for the Whitmore Poetry Manuscript Prize (Victoria, 2013) and her full-length poetry manuscript ‘Settling’ was shortlisted for the inaugural Dorothy Hewett Award (WA, 2015). Carol is currently a PhD candidate in writing at Curtin University, Perth.
  • Margi Mitcalfe’s poetry has been published in the New Zealand Listener, in the anthologies Kaupapa: New Zealand Poets, World Issues, Sunset at the Estuary and ‘catch and release’, and in Landfall, Poetry New Zealand, takahē and Spin. She is a senior tutor of ‘Tū Kupu: Writing and Inquiry’ and ‘Tūrangawaewae: Identity and Belonging’ at Massey University.
  • Margaret Moores was a bookseller for many years, but now works as a publisher’s sales representative. She is studying towards an MA in Creative Writing at Massey University. Her poems have been published in Shot Glass Journal, Blackmail Press, Meniscus and in Poetry New Zealand.
  • Joshua Morris is a genderqueer writer who can’t help but spit up a poem every day. Joshua’s work has been published in Mayhem Literary Journal, and they are currently working on their first book of words, tentatively titled Deusection.
  • Idoya Munn is a writer and teacher living in Dunedin. She has been published in New Zealand Short Short Stories (ed. Graeme Lay) and Nearly Seventeen (ed. Tessa Duder).
  • Janet Newman lives in Koputaroa in Horowhenua and has completed an MA in Creative Writing at Massey University. Her poems have appeared in a fine line, Blackmail Press, brief, bravado, Poetry New Zealand, takahē and Snorkel, and in Printable Reality and New Zealand Poetry Society anthologies. Her essays about poetry have been published in the Journal of New Zealand Literature and Poetry New Zealand.
  • Dot Nicholson of Te Awamutu is a mother, grandmother and widow. She has dabbled in writing over the past decade. She writes about what every mother dreads — a life-threatening illness for her child, an illness which claimed the life of her late husband. She comes from a background in farming and the retail industry.
  • Heidi North-Bailey lives in Auckland. Her poetry and short stories have been published in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. She won an international Irish award for her poetry in 2007, and has won New Zealand awards for her short fiction. Her debut poetry book, Possibility of Flight, was published by Mākaro Press in 2015. In 2016 she was the New Zealand fellow in the Shanghai Writing Programme, joining nine other writers worldwide.
  • Keith Nunes is from Lake Rotoma near Rotorua. He was a newspaper subeditor for more than twenty years, but changed lanes and now sees life from a different perspective. He’s been published in Poetry New Zealand, Landfall, takahē, brief, Trout, Catalyst and Snorkel among others, has been anthologised many times and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. His book of poetry and short fiction, catching a ride on a paradox, is sold by the lunatic fringe.
  • Jessamine O Connor lives in the west of Ireland, and facilitates the award-winning Hermit Collective, and the Wrong Side of the Tracks Writers. During World War II, Jessamine’s grandmother had a baby in a Catholic ‘mother-and-baby home’, and the baby was adopted to a family in New Zealand. They were never reunited, although the daughter travelled to Ireland to find her mother as she was dying in a hospice, the local priest denying knowing who she was. This poem was written as the unmarked mass graves of children were being discovered at similar ‘homes’ across Ireland.
  • Charles Olsen is a Nelson-born poet and artist. He moved to the United Kingdom in 1981, and to Spain in 2003. His latest collection of poems is Antípodas (Huerga & Fierro, 2016, bilingual edition). He runs the online Spanish poetry project Palabras prestadas or ‘Given Words’. His website is
  • Chris Parsons is a psychologist working in Christchurch. His writing appears in print in JAAM, Poetry New Zealand, Southerly and takahē, and online in Blackmail Press, Snorkel and The Typewriter.
  • I. K. Paterson-Harkness is a writer and musician from Auckland. Her publications include two novellas, both shortlisted for a Sir Julius Vogel award. Her poetry has appeared in publications such as Landfall, JAAM and Writing Tomorrow. Her writing and music can be found at and @ikpatersonhark.
  • Jessica Pawley is a postgraduate student of English, currently researching the effects of digital interactivity on the processes of reading and writing. She has two Young Adult speculative fiction novel series pending publication by Steam Press.
  • Kiri Piahana-Wong is a New Zealander of Māori (Ngāti Ranginui), Chinese and Pākehā (English) ancestry. She is a poet and editor, and is the publisher at Anahera Press. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, and she has edited editions of JAAM magazine and Flash Frontier. Kiri is an MC at Poetry Live, New Zealand’s longest-running live poetry venue. Her first poetry collection, Night Swimming (Anahera Press), was released in 2013, and she has recently completed her second book, Tidelines. Kiri lives in northwest Auckland in a small house surrounded by miles of fields.
  • Joanna Preston is a Tasmanaut poet, editor and freelance creative writing tutor. Her first collection, The summer king (OUP, 2009), won both the 2008 Kathleen Grattan Award for Poetry and the 2010 Mary Gilmore Prize. Her poems have been published widely, most recently in JAAM, Poetry New Zealand and Landfall. She is the poetry editor for takahē magazine.
  • Hayden Pyke lives in Hamilton and writes bits and pieces by night when his other life isn’t around. He has had some success in local short story and poetry competitions, and has published a few short stories in online journals.
  • Vaughan Rapatahana is a New Zealand writer and reviewer. Although perhaps best known for his poetry, his bibliography also includes prose fiction, educational material, academic articles, philosophy, and language critiques. Rapatahana is of Māori ancestry, and many of his works deal with the subjects of colonial repression and cultural encounter. His writing has been published in New Zealand and internationally. In 2009, he was a semi-finalist for the Proverse Prize in Literature. He was also a finalist in the 2013 erbacce prize for poetry. His latest poetry collection, Atonement (UST Press, Manila, 2016), has been nominated for the National Book Award in the Philippines
  • Sahanika Ratnayake is a vaguely nomadic person: her parents moved to New Zealand from Sri Lanka when she was five, and since then she has lived intermittently in New Zealand, Melbourne and the United Kingdom. Aside from writing poetry, she studies philosophy, an activity she fears is an obscene decadence and a scam.
  • Nicholas Reid is an Auckland historian and poet, who four times edited Poetry New Zealand in its old format. Two of his collections have so far appeared, The Little Enemy (2011) and Mirror World (2016), both published by Steele Roberts.
  • Edward Reilly was born in 1944 in Adelaide, South Australia. He was a secondary-school teacher and then a sessional academic. In 2000 he earned a PhD in Poetics from Victoria University in Melbourne. His prose, study guides and poetry have been published in Australia and overseas. He has a tenuous connection with New Zealand through his great-uncle, Thomas Cawthron of Nelson, and nurses a desire to return to Paihia.
  • Ron Riddell has worked/performed in many countries. A painter, musician and the author of a number of plays and novels, he has published twenty-one collections of verse. His new book of poems (reviewed in this issue of Poetry New Zealand) is called Dance of Blue Dragonflies (Printable Reality, 2016). His work has been translated into German, Japanese, Turkish, Arabic, Hindi and Spanish. Ron was the founder and is the current chairperson of The Titirangi Poets.
  • David Romanda lives in Kawasaki City, Japan. His work has appeared in Ambit Magazine, Magma Poetry, The Moth, Poetry New Zealand and PN Review.
  • Jack Ross is the managing editor of Poetry New Zealand. He works as a senior lecturer in creative writing at Massey University’s Auckland campus. His latest collection, A Clearer View of the Hinterland: Poems and Sequences 1981–2014, was published by HeadworX in 2014. See further on his blog The Imaginary Museum (
  • Lisa Samuels' recent books include Anti M (Chax, 2013), Tender Girl (Dusie, 2015) and A TransPacific Poetics, edited with Sawako Nakayasu (Litmus, forthcoming 2017). Her poetry has inspired musical scores and scholarly essays internationally and features in anthologies such as Out of Everywhere 2 (Reality Street, 2015). A US-born transnational writer, Lisa has lived in Aotearoa/New Zealand since 2006, where she teaches at the University of Auckland.
  • Jo-Ella Sarich lives in Petone, Lower Hutt, close to the beach with its views over Te Whanganui-a-Tara. She is married with two small children and works in the public sector. She has recently taken up writing in her spare time.
  • L. E. Scott is an African American poet/writer who has lived in New Zealand for many years. He has had a number of poetry collections published. His work has also been published previously in Poetry New Zealand, and in other literary journals such as Landfall, takahē, JAAM and Sport, in magazines such as the New Zealand Listener, and in anthologies both in New Zealand and overseas.
  • Ila Selwyn published a book of poetry, two sisters, in 2011. She was an MC for Poetry Live in Auckland for four years, and left in 2009 to organise and run the rhythm & verse readings in Titirangi. In 2015 she graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Auckland.
  • Kerrin P. Sharpe’s first book, three days in a wishing well, was published by Victoria University Press (VUP) in 2012. A group of her poems also appeared in 2013 in the UK publication Oxford Poets 13 (Carcanet). A second book, there’s a medical name for this, was published by VUP in 2014, and her latest collection is rabbit rabbit (VUP, 2016).
  • Emma Shi was the winner of the National Schools Poetry Award 2013, and her work has also been published in Landfall. She is currently studying Classics and English at Victoria University of Wellington.
  • Sarah Shirley is married with two young children. She is a medical student in her final year of study. Her poems have appeared in takahē, Star*Line and Ars Medica.
  • Antonia Smith is a high-school student living in Auckland. She writes of her poem: ‘I am fascinated by the coincidence of everything. Each moment is made up of a million intertwining details — the tiniest aspects of the most ordinary setting have been set in motion by some extraordinary event thousands of years in the past. I guess that this poem is a an attempt to describe this strange relationship between time and environment.’
  • Elizabeth Smither is working on a new collection, Night Horse, to be published by AUP in 2017. She was awarded the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize 2016.
  • Courtney Speedy is a nineteen-year-old poet from Whangarei. She has had poetry published in four separate collections: Re-draft: The Word is Out (2014) and Write Off Line: They Came in From the Dark (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014), as well as the international collections LONELY and LOVE (both 2016).
  • Michael Steven is an Auckland-based poet and the author of various books of poems, including Homage to Robert Creeley (2007) and Bartering Lines (2009).
  • Bill Sutton lives in Napier. He has worked as a scientist, politician and policy analyst, and his poems have appeared in Poetry New Zealand, takahē, JAAM, Blackmail Press, Catalyst and Broadsheet. His first poetry collection Jabberwocky was published by Steele Roberts in 2014.
  • Richard Taylor is an Aucklander whose work has been published in various publications, including some previous issues of Poetry New Zealand. His two main books are RED (Dead Poets, 1996), and Conversation with a stone (Titus, 2007). It is said of Taylor that his mind is like an enormous ice-cream.
  • Loren Thomas is an MA student at the University of Waikato. She has previously been published in Mayhem and Poetry New Zealand.
  • Nicola Thorstensen lives and writes in Dunedin. Her poetry has previously appeared in takahē and the Otago Daily Times. She placed first in the published poet section of the Robert Burns Poetry Competition 2016.
  • Steven Toussaint is the author of The Bellfounder (The Cultural Society, 2015) and Fiddlehead (Compound Press, 2014), and recent poems have appeared in Denver Quarterly and The Spinoff. He is currently writer in residence at the University of Waikato and co-administers the Horoeka/Lancewood Reading Grant.
  • Iva Vemić writes: ‘I have written poetry since learning the English language as a child. Moving here from Serbia in 1996 with my family, I quickly fell head-over-heels for English and in particular poetry. Since then, I have been published in Re-Draft 4 and A Fine Line — New Zealand Poetry Society’s quarterly magazine. I attained a BA in Creative Writing at AUT in 2012.’
  • Suzanne Verrall lives in Adelaide, South Australia. Her flash fiction, essays and poetry have been or are forthcoming in Flash Frontier, Archer Magazine, Lip Magazine and The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts.
  • Bryan Walpert is the author of: three collections of poetry, Etymology (Cinnamon Press, 2009), A History Of Glass (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2011) and most recently Native Bird (Mākaro Press, 2015); a collection of short stories, Ephraim’s eyes (Pewter Rose Press, 2009); and the monograph Resistance to Science in Contemporary American Poetry (Routledge, 2011). He is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing in the School of English and Media Studies at Massey University.
  • Devon Webb is an eighteen-year-old poet who resides in Auckland. By day she works in a pizza shop and by night she wanders the city streets looking for people and places to fall in love with. She writes a lot of poetry. Her social media accounts can be found at:; blog/leatherbounddiaries;
  • Mercedes Webb-Pullman was born in Kaitaia and attended Colenso High School, Napier. She left New Zealand in 1969, living in Australia and the United States, and returned home to help care for her mother in 2008. She obtained a Diploma of Creative Writing from Whitireia Polytechnic in 2009, and graduated from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters with an MA in Creative Writing in 2011. She lives on the Kāpiti coast, and happily reads her poetry at open mic sessions, and recently at Pegasus Books in Wellington as a featured poet. Her poems and prose have appeared in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, Otoliths, Connotations, The Red Room, Typewriter and Cliterature, among others.
  • Anna Woods works in digital media and has a special interest in digital modes of reading, particularly metadata, social media and the evolving definition of authorship in the digital world. She has been published by NZ Poetry Society. The poetry included here has been, she writes, ‘procedurally generated from texts sourced from the Poetry Foundation’s Poem-a-Day email. They are assemblages of multiple texts, parsed through social media and then written through and marked up, but there may be elements that remain recognisable to readers.’
  • Mark Young was born in Hokitika, now lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, and has been publishing poetry for almost sixty years. He is the author of over thirty-five books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo and art history. His work has been widely anthologised, and his essays and poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent books are Mineral Terpsichore, from gradient books of Finland, and The Chorus of the Sphinxes, from Moria Books in Chicago. An ebook, The Holy Sonnets unDonne, was published in early 2016 by Red Ceilings Press; another, a few geographies, was released in late 2016 from One Sentence Poems; and another, For the Witches of Romania, is scheduled for publication by Beard of Bees. He is the editor of Otoliths.
  • Karen Zelas’s third collection of poetry, I am Minerva, was published by Mākaro Press in August 2016.


About Poetry New Zealand

Poetry New Zealand is New Zealand’s longest-running poetry magazine, showcasing new writing from this country and overseas. It presents the work of talented newcomers and developing writers as well as that of established leaders in the field.

Founded by Wellington poet Louis Johnson, who edited it from 1951 to 1964 as the New Zealand Poetry Yearbook, it was revived as a biennial volume by Frank McKay in 1971, a series which lasted until 1984. David Drummond (in collaboration with Oz Kraus’s Brick Row Publishing) began to publish it again biannually in 1990. The journal reached its 48th issue in 2014, the year its present managing editor, Jack Ross of Massey University’s School of English and Media Studies, took it back to its roots by renaming it the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook.

Poetry New Zealand has been edited by some of New Zealand’s most distinguished poets and academics, including Elizabeth Caffin, Grant Duncan, Riemke Ensing, Bernard Gadd, Leonard Lambert, Harry Ricketts, Elizabeth Smither and Brian Turner. The journal was overseen from 1993 to 2014 by celebrated poet, novelist, anthologist, editor and literary critic Alistair Paterson ONZM, with help from master printer John Denny of Puriri Press, and guest editors Owen Bullock, Siobhan Harvey and Nicholas Reid.

The magazine’s policy is to support poetry and poets both in New Zealand and overseas. Each issue since 1994 has contained a substantial feature showcasing the work of a developing or established poet. It also includes a selection of poetry from New Zealand and abroad, as well as essays, reviews and critical commentary.

Managing editor
Jack Ross

Advisory board
  • Thom Conroy
  • Jen Crawford
  • John Denny
  • Matthew Harris
  • Ingrid Horrocks
  • David Howard
  • Bronwyn Lloyd
  • Alistair Paterson
  • Tracey Slaughter
  • Bryan Walpert

Webmaster: Warren Olds

Submissions: The submission dates for each issue are between 1 May and 31 July of each year. Submit either (preferably) by email, with your poems pasted in the body of the message or included as a MSWord file attachment; or by post, to the address below, with a stamped self-addressed envelope, and contact details in your covering letter.

Dr Jack Ross
School of English and Media Studies
Massey University, Albany Campus
Private Bag 102904
North Shore Mail Centre
Auckland 0745

Please remember to include a short biography and current postal address with your submission. Each contributor will receive a free copy of the issue their work is included in.


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