Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Radio NZ: Jesse Mulligan 1-4 [14/3/18]

2018 New Zealand Poetry Yearbook

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:31 pm today

The upcoming 2018 Poetry Yearbook includes 130 new poems from 87 poets. It has a skew for 2018 towards younger writers including those who are still in their teens. It also features the 2018 Poetry Prize Winner's work. That was won by an Otago University Medical student, Fardowsa Mohamed. The Yearbook's editor Jack Ross talks to Jesse about the quality of this year's book and the talent of the country's younger poets.

Jack Ross

Short Story Club

Every Thursday after 3pm Jesse and a guest discuss a New Zealand short story, and read feedback from listeners.

On Thursday 15th March we will discuss the poem Us, by Fardowsa Mohamed.

We brought in an overseas expert to discuss her poem. Poet, editor and fan of New Zealand, Matthew Zapruder.

He has an excellent book called Why Poetry, which is a great place to start for somebody wanting to enjoy poetry more.

Fardowsa Mohamed

for my sisters


Mother, you did not expect to find yourself
in this forest of strange trees.
This ground does not taste
of the iron your tongue knew.
in the velvet of the night we heard you sob
in the room next door, our ears pressed to the peeling paper.
we locked fingers and prayed. someone next door
saw braided-head girls in a circle
praying to a peculiar god
and snapped their curtains shut.


Everyone congratulates me
on the scholarship. Your parents
who have suffered can finally exhale

said the white man at the ceremony.
But I think I hate this degree.
I want to do good and make a difference
but I have no idea
how to be in this foreign land.


the world broke & crumbled today
— there you go — trying to tape her back
into a perfect sphere,
trying to spit water
on the raging fire.


know that this earth is your body. your words are
the Pacific Ocean tides that wash & purify
your legs are the Mountains that anchor, your heart —
the Land that gives. every where you stand is your home.
Earth is the African Woman
who gave birth to the first Man.


We were watching late night Al Jazeera, shaking our heads,
when uncle called. A pregnant cousin we have never met has died.
The TV breaks to a Red Cross appeal.
You hold me on the sinking couch
as we mourn those whom we never knew.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Poetry NZ Yearbook 2018 Launch Details

Where:Devonport Library, 2 Victoria Road, Devonport
When:Tuesday 20 March, 7.00 till 9.00 pm
Cost:Koha appreciated

A Devonport Library Associates Event

Please RSVP here

The poets are assembling at Devonport Library to celebrate the publication of the New Zealand Poetry Yearbook 2018, edited by Jack Ross and published by Massey University Press.

The book will be launched by distinguished poet and Massey creative writing teacher Bryan Walpert, and the evening will include readings by ten of the poets included in the issue, including Yearbook 2018’s featured poet Alistair Paterson.

Here's the complete line-up of speakers:

MC: Jack Ross

Chair of the Devonport Library Associates: Jan Mason

Massey University Press Publisher: Nicola Legat

Launch Speech: Bryan Walpert

Featured Poet: Alistair Paterson

Poetry NZ Ist Prize-winner: Fardowsa Mohamed

Poetry NZ 2nd Prize winner: Semira Davis

Iain Britton

Johanna Emeney

Callum Gentleman

Elizabeth Morton

Richard von Sturmer

Devon Webb

Albert Wendt

Please do come along - you'll be very welcome, and with that set of readers, we can definitely guarantee a good show!

Sunday, 14 January 2018

My advance copy of Poetry NZ Yearbook 2018

They arrived last Wednesday, and I picked mine up on Friday morning. Here are some more of the photos Bronwyn took of my advance copy.

Poetry NZ Yearbook 2018

The blurb reads:
Issue #52

Featuring the poetry of
Alistair Paterson

Edited by
Jack Ross

Poetry New Zealand Yearbook, this country’s longest-running poetry magazine, showcases new writing from New Zealand and overseas. It presents the work of talented newcomers as well as that of established voices.

This issue features the winning entries of the Poetry New Zealand competition, as well as over 100 new poems by writers including Albert Wendt, David Eggleton, Johanna Emeney and Bob Orr.

Issue #52 also features essays by Owen Bullock, Jeanita Cush-Hunter, Ted Jenner, Robert McLean and Reade Moore, and reviews of 33 new poetry collections.
If you want to find out more about it, you can go to our page on the Massey University Press website:

Jack Ross, ed.: Poetry NZ Yearbook 2018 (March 2018)

I have to warn you, though, it's pretty huge: 360 pages to last year's 352. There are five essays to last year's three, the same number of reviews, and almost as many poems, as well.

I wrote to the cover designer, Massey design lecturer Jo Bailey, to say: "It pops! Everyone I’ve shown it to so far agrees that not only is it a beautiful piece of design, but that it draws the eye to an extraordinary degree …" She seemed pretty pleased with that, so I went on:
I guess what I found particularly ingenious was the way the white dots have been embossed slightly to signify "18" even to visually-challenged readers. I already admired the design when I saw it as an online image, but tactile details like that are an invitation to pick up the book and fondle it: every author's dream ...
I don't know if the rest of you like it as much as I do, but do feel free to give your views.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Poetry New Zealand Review

In the past, it's often been a rush to get all the reviews ready to go before the deadline for each issue of Poetry New Zealand Yearbook. Also, books that arrived too late to be sent out have tended to end up with a notice rather than a review, which is a bit unfair.

Our solution to this dilemma is to start a brand-new website, the Poetry New Zealand Review - modelled loosely on the excellent Landfall Review Online. The advantage of this is that we will be able to publish reviews of local poetry books all year round, rather than trying to gather them all up in time for the Yearbook.

Mind you, I still feel that a reviews section is an essential part of any literary journal, so - like Landfall - we will continue to publish a substantial selection in each annual issue. Decisions about which books to include in the print edition and which to post online will be made on an ad hoc basis: certainly not because we consider one venue more prestigious or valuable than the other. The same people will be writing for both.

We have the wholehearted cooperation of our publisher, Massey University Press, in taking this step. While they don't wish us to post reviews which have already appeared in the print issues they've published, they're happy for us to trim the number of books we try to cover in each one (33 in each of the last two yearbooks). I'll be careful to list all the books reviewed in the print edition only on a separate page of the site, though.

I've kicked off the website by reprinting all the book reviews published in Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 1 & 2, just to give you an idea of what it could eventually look like. If you think you'd like to try your hand at a poetry review, please drop me a line and we'll be happy to give you a try-out. You can find further instructions here.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Submissions closed for Poetry New Zealand 52

Yes, I'm afraid it's official: submissions for Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2018, issue no. 52, due out - I hope - in March next year, are now closed. I'll continue to add various commissioned reviews and other bits and pieces to the text, but any unsolicited work that's sent to me from now on will have to be sent back. You're welcome to start preparing your material for Yearbook 2019 [Issue 53], but it might be better to hold off on that until mid-2018 (we'll be following the usual convention of accepting entries from Mayday until the end of July).

Some of you may have been feeling a bit uneasy about the lack of a reply to the poems you've sent. It's not really practical to acknowledge each submission as it arrives (there've been over 300 for this issue: a new record). I hope that very few of you will be kept waiting any longer than three months from the date of receipt.

So please do rest assured that we're working through them all, and that all of you will receive a reply in the very near future.

So much has been sent, however, that there will inevitably have to be a lot of rejection letters. We all hate writing them, but it must be done. I can already see that there's some fantastic material in my inbox, but there are logistic limits on what even a publisher as supportive as Massey University Press will allow me to include between one set of covers.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2017

I'm happy to have been asked to share the following press release about Poetry Day:

Kia ora and welcome all National Poetry Day organisers and enthusiasts, present and past!

Registrations for Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2017 are now open!

It’s also our twentieth anniversary, so this year is going to be bigger, better and more extraordinary than ever. (For registrations details and links, see below).

Miriam Barr, our fantastic NPD coordinator for the last couple of years, is now focussing on other interests and projects. My name is Harley Hern, and I have the pleasure of working in the new role of National Poetry Day Administrator. Many of you know me already; I look forward to working with you further. For those of you I haven’t met, I’m going to enjoy getting to know you as we work together through the countdown. Now, my aim is to build upon the strong foundation created by Miriam, and her predecessor, the glorious Siobhan Harvey.

Here are some updates:
  • Phantom Billstickers remains our sponsor, with greater involvement than ever, greater exposure for NPD through their huge list of followers (and I’m hoping lots of luscious images for us).
  • We’re growing our social media presence further, making it more dynamic and interactive. Facebook is ready for your Poetry Day promotions, comments and as many great photos as you want to post. We’re also on Twitter (@NZPoetryDay).
  • Our website (now at ) will soon have fresh images and new poster templates for you to use.

This year we will also launch our soon-to-be-announced twentieth anniversary celebration, so remember to keep this anniversary in mind when you plan your events.

For easier registration, there are some changes:
- We no longer need your full blurb at registration, just an idea of what you’re planning. You can send your draft blurb in later after registrations close. This cuts down the paperwork. (Don’t worry – I’ll remind you of the deadline further in).

- The new and abbreviated online form is available here. Otherwise you can download the registration template, copy into a text document, then transfer your details to the online form in your own time.
Registrations close on the 24th of May. If you are applying for seed funding, the successful applicants will be announced 5 June. Otherwise, you’ll hear from me sooner.

National Poetry Day will be on the 25th August (the last Friday of August, as per usual).

That’s enough for now. I will send further updates, tips and advice soon. All the very best with your planning. If you have any questions, please do ask.

Let’s make this 25th August 2017 a fantastic celebration both of the power and beauty of language, and our vibrant poetry community.

Click this link: Register now!

All the very best,

Harley Hern

Harley Hern
Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2017
New Zealand Book Awards Trust

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Reviews & Notices of Poetry NZ Yearbook 2017

I thought I'd better start listing all the reviews and notices we've received of this year's Yearbook so far. You can find a more comprehensive list here, but this should provide you with details of some of the ones I haven't yet mentioned on this blog:

  1. Nicola Legat, Massey University Press website:

    Terrific new New Zealand poetry

    Continually in print since 1951, when it was established by leading poet Louis Johnson, this annual collection of new poetry, reviews and essays is the ideal way to catch up with the latest poetry from established and emerging New Zealand poets.

    Issue #51 features 128 new poems by writers including featured poet Elizabeth Morton, Riemke Ensing, Mohamed Hassan, Michele Leggott, Kiri Piahana-Wong and Elizabeth Smither, as well as essays by Janet Charman, Lisa Samuels and Bryan Walpert, and reviews of 33 new poetry collections.

    CATEGORY: Creative arts
    ISBN: 978-0-9941363-5-0
    ESBN: N/A
    PUBLISHER: Massey University Press
    IMPRINT: Massey University Press
    PUBLISHED: 13/03/2017
    PAGE EXTENT: 352
    FORMAT: Soft cover

  2. Sarah Thornton, Massey University Press press release (15/2/17):

    Sarah Thornton, Massey University Press press release (15/2/17)


    Poetry New Zealand is an institution; the country’s longest-running poetry magazine, edited by many pre-eminent poets and academics, including Alistair Paterson, Harry Ricketts, Elizabeth Smither and Brian Turner.

    The Poetry New Zealand Yearbook has been continuously in print since 1951, when it was established by Wellington poet Louis Johnson. This annual collection of new writing, reviews of new poetry and discussion of poetics, has now found a new home with Massey University Press, who are proud to support the work of emerging talent and established voices.

    As Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017 editor Dr Jack Ross writes: ‘Shouting from the rooftops really doesn’t work very well in the 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).’

    Issue #51 of Poetry New Zealand Yearbook features 125 new poems, including work by featured poet Elizabeth Morton, as well as Riemke Ensing, Mohamed Hassan, Anna Jackson, Michele Leggott, Kiri Piahana-Wong and Elizabeth Smither. The collection also features essays by Janet Charman, Lisa Samuels and Bryan Walpert, and reviews of 33 new poetry collections. Readers will be charmed, challenged and delighted.

    With the publication of Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017 comes the formal announcement of the inaugural Poetry New Zealand competition. In first place is young Wellington poet Emma Shi; eighteen-year-old Auckland poet Devon Webb takes second place; and Hamilton poet Hayden Pyke comes third.

    The book will be launched at the Devonport library on the evening of Tuesday, 14 March, at a free public event (koha on the door) featuring readings by ten poets, including Michele Leggott.

    About the Editor:

    Dr Jack Ross is a senior lecturer in creative writing at Massey University’s Albany campus. He is the author of five books of poems, including City of Strange Brunettes (1998), Chantal’s Book (2002), To Terezin (2007), Celanie (2012) and A Clearer View of the Hinterland (2014), as well as three novels, a novella, and two collections of short fiction. He has edited a number of books and literary magazines, including (from 2014) Poetry New Zealand.

  3. Nicola Legat, 10 Questions with Jack Ross. Massey University Press website (22/2/17):

    1. Now that it’s published, what pleases you most about New Zealand Poetry Yearbook 2017?

    I think the thing I like best about it is the number of younger contributors we’ve managed to include. My wife Bronwyn was leafing through it the other day and suddenly burst out: ‘These kids are putting us all to shame!’ That’s about right, I think. It’s not that I’ve relaxed any of my editorial standards to ease them in over the bar — on the contrary, there seem to be a lot of younger writers out there (most of whom I’d never even heard of before), who are writing hard-hitting, honest, beautiful poems. Long may the trend continue! I think some of it may be due to the fact that we now allow — or, rather, encourage — email submissions. You have to be pretty organised (as well as pretty determined) to keep on sending out those typed submissions, complete with stamped self-addressed envelopes, week after week, month after month, the way we used to do ...

  4. Laine Moger, Poetry New Zealand's longstanding poetry magazine set to launch in Devonport. Stuff: Entertainment (9/3/17):

    Ross also maintains that those who want to get a point of view across, particularly political views, should write a poem.

    "People in power don't understand poetry. So the witty poem may be one of the last weapons we have left to puncture power."

    "The real world says poetry is a waste of their [young people's] time. But it's one of the few things that isn't wasting their time," he says.

  5. Graham Beattie, Poetry New Zealand. Beattie's Book Blog - unofficial homepage of the New Zealand book community (14/3/17):

    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 featured 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.

    Massey University Press - $34.99

  6. Jennifer Little, Abundance of young voices in latest Poetry NZ. About Massey: News (16/3/17):

    Young poets are out in force alongside established scribes in the latest Poetry New Zealand Yearbook, the 67th issue since 1951, and published for the first time by Massey University Press. Poet and managing editor Dr Jack Ross says the 352-page volume, launched this week – with 128 poems, as well as essays and reviews of 33 new poetry collections – includes many new, young poets writing “hard-hitting, honest, beautiful poems”.

  7. Paul Little, "Reviews: New Zealand Books". North & South (April 2017): 86.

    This belongs in the section of your bookcase you’ve set aside for quiet little miracles that we can only be grateful are still part of our literary life. The periodical published its 50th edition last year. You probably missed the newspaper features and the special edition of Seven Sharp – or, indeed, any recognition in this magazine. Here’s hoping the editor and contributors were invited to have a nice cup of tea with Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry.

    This year’s garden of poetic delights features the work of 97 poets and almost as many voices, themes and moods in a tightly formatted volume. Depending on how you calculate these things, at least three generations of poets are represented. There is work in te reo Maori and English. Contributors include venerable names such as Ensing, Leggott, Marshall and Smither, who take their place in the alphabetical queue with newcomers and mid-career poets.

  8. Laine Moger, “Devonport Library launches Poetry New Zealand Yearbook with a slam.” North Shore Times (17/3/17):

    A poet laureate, authors, literature fans and publishers, all gathered at the Devonport Library to celebrate the launch of the 51st issue of Poetry New Zealand Yearbook (2017).

    A large crowd, a mix of young and old, gathered on the night of March 14 to purchase the book, enjoy some nibbles, and be entertained by live poetry readings.

    Professor Michele Leggott, New Zealand's inaugural poet laureate and Devonport resident, was the guest speaker.

    The audience was treated to live poetry readings, which included political themes, sickness, broken hearts and life guidelines. ...

    The launch also formally announced the Poetry New Zealand competition winners.

    Wellington poet Emma Shi, 20, was announced the overall winner and performed her poem live at the launch alongside Auckland poet and second place winner, Devon Webb, 20.

    Editor Jack Ross described the winner Emma Shi's poetry as awe-inspiring.

    "She appears to be one of the rare people who appears to have been born with a kind of poetic perfect pitch," Ross said.

    The event drew a large crowd from as far down the country as Wellington. ...

    Hamilton poet Hayden Pyke came third, but was not able to attend on the night.

  9. Booksellers New Zealand, "Indie Top 20 for week ending 18th March 2017.” (18/3/17)


    Poetry New Zealand Yearbook:

    Jack Ross
    Massey University Press $34.99

  10. Paula Green, "Room for Kiwi Poetry to Breathe.” Sunday Star-Times (19/3/17): E27.

    Wellington poet Louis Johnson established the New Zealand Poetry Yearbook in 1951. It has just received a well-deserved makeover by Massey University Press. The new design is eye-catching, the writing has room to breathe and the content is eclectic.

    With Victoria and Otago University Presses publishing Sport and Landfall, it is good to see a literary magazine finding a home in Auckland. It is the only magazine that devotes sole attention to poetry and poetics, with an abundant measure of poems, reviews and essays.

    Editor Dr Jack Ross aims to spotlight emerging and established poets and include “sound, well-considered reviews”. There are just under 100 poets in the issue, including Nick Ascroft, Riemke Ensing, Elizabeth Smither, Anna Jackson, Michele Leggott and Kiri Piahana-Wong.

    When I pick up a poetry journal, I am after the surprise of a fresh voice, the taste of new work by a well-loved poet, the revelatory contours of poetry that both behaves and misbehaves when it comes to questionable rule books. The annual delivers such treats. A welcome find for me is the featured poet: Elizabeth Morton. Morton’s debut collection will be out this year with Makaro Press, so this sampler is perfect with its lush detail, lilting lines and surreal edges. ...

    Poetry New Zealand Yearbook, in its revitalised form, and as a hub for poetry conversations, is now an essential destination for poetry fans. Not all the poems held my attention, but the delights are myriad.

  11. Laine Moger, 'Out & About.' North Shore Times (21/3/17):

    "Out & About." North Shore Times (21/3/17)

  12. Lynn Freeman, "The poetic landscape of Aotearoa 2017." Radio NZ: Standing Room Only (Sunday 26 March 2017):

    The country's longest running poetry magazine has just put out issue 51, an impressive tally in anyone's book. Lynn Freeman spoke to Jack Ross who has edited Poetry New Zealand: Yearbook 2017, featuring new and well established writers. Jack has selected 125 new poems from hundreds submitted internationally, and supplemented them with essays and reviews by other writers keen to get people talking more about poetry.

    Duration:  11′ 20″

  13. Siobhan Harvey, "Book reviews: poetry." NZ Herald (Saturday 8 April 2017):

    In its new incarnation, the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook is a poetic treat. Published annually (rather than biannually as it was under previous editor Alistair Paterson), the compendium of contemporary poetry extends to 350 pages of fabulous poems, essays and reviews. This time the featured poet is a rising star of local literature, Elizabeth Morton, winner of the 2013 Emerging Poets Competition, shortlisted for the 2015 Kathleen Grattan Award and about to have her first full collection, Wolf, published. The Yearbook handsomely showcases this startling new voice with 20 fresh poems and a full interview. Reading the poem "Reincarnation", you'll be blown away by Morton's magical wordcraft and imagery. Equally impressive offerings come from familiar poets such as Stu Bagby, Johanna Emeney, Sue Fitchett, Olivia Macassey and Michael Steven, as well as new names such as Iva Vemich. While Janet Charman, Lisa Samuels and Bryan Walpert offer a triptych of perceptive essays. The result is one of the best New Zealand literary journals around.

  14. Anna Forsyth, "Book Review: Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017, edited by Jack Ross." The Reader: The Booksellers New Zealand Blog (11 April 2017):

    The best way to take the pulse and determine the health of poetry in New Zealand is to crack open the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook. It is proof that the art form is very much alive and vibrant in 2017. As the first issue through Massey University Press, the journal covers a lot of ground. Since its inception in the 1950s, the journal continues to showcase poets of longstanding, such as Riemke Ensing, Michelle Leggott, Owen Marshall, Iain Britton and Elizabeth Smither, while introducing readers to younger, emerging poets, such as Devon Webb, Callum Stembridge and Harriet Beth.

    ... In 2017, the journal celebrates and promotes the work of women poets, both through featuring their work and discussing their books in the review section.

    Elizabeth Morton’s suite is accomplished and mesmerising. At times her work sends the reader on a surreal journey, like a Chagall painting. She drifts in and out of dark themes, from the personal (visiting someone in hospital) to the political (the refugee crisis). It is satisfying and intriguing work: ‘I bring you / blackberries, frankincense, / lorazepam. / I make marionettes with my hands / I make you the best alpaca you’ve ever seen.’

    ... This collection offers jumping off points for anyone, no matter your poetic inclination. Not one to be raced through, each reading brings a fresh new image, ‘when you least expect … a dull ache in the memory (When you least expect) … has the / power to flatten me.’ (Lithium).

  15. Mike, "Book Review: Poetry New Zealand Yearbook: 2017." McLeod's Booksellers Ltd.: April Newsletter (Rotorua):

    A journalist recently wrote that the very idea of poetry is seen as somewhat unmanly – it's all about feelings … the ultimate purple prose! Wrong. It's not prose at all, and that's the point. Also, what does that say about the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook here, where almost half of the many contributors are male?

    It may also be that poetry mainly sells only to other poets – in which case the inclusion of so many in this edition is probably a good idea.

    Edited by Jack Ross, the selection favours new and emerging writers. This is brave and generous because the reader is left to decide for themselves what is worthwhile.

    Having repeatedly dipped into the contents, I found myself thinking it was all a bit 'top heavy'. I mean, it's all very good but it is rather literary. There are some truly weird and wonderful lines here but the whole thing would have a wider appeal if there were some slam, some Banksy style equivalent of the message.

    Poetry is capable of this but the first thing to get right is to get a wider audience to actually read it.

    This selection is definitely worth owning, everything here has merit. It is a collection worth dipping into when you are looking for inspiration.

  16. Edward Reilly, "Book Review: Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017." Azuria #6 (Autumn 2017): 107-08.

    Azuria #6 (Autumn 2017)

    Edited by Dr. Jack Ross for Poetry New Zealand, this collection presents a diverse mix of established and new writers, from New Zealand and overseas.

    Poetry, essays and reviews all contribute to an interesting reading list. In particular, I enjoyed 'Untitled' by Courtney Speedy, for both its length and her strong voice.

    Likewise, Tony Beyer's 'After Hesiod' struck me as having gone deep into his land's roots, emulating the Greek Poet's appreciation of the essentials of a farmer's life, and reminding me of Heaney in its directness, tonality and wording.

    Then there's Chris Parson's 'A Song of Ian Paisley', which had a visceral effect on me. The woman's plaintive whispering, 'what took you so long Ian Paisley', is an effective comment on the manufactured Troubles in Ulster, for having dragged on too long. Now, there's a resolution in sight, strangely through the Brexit, whereby a reunited Ireland can put aside the horrors of the past and its people can face the future together, without rancour.

    Janet Charman's essay 'A piece of why' introduced me to the life and work of the poet Allen Curnow (1911-2001) whose complexity is attractive, being at once tough-minded and also deeply reflective of the condition of being a New Zealander. It's a pity his work is not better known in this country.

    Overall, this collection serves as a very useful introduction to contemporary poetic practice in a neighbouring country, about which we know so little and yet are ready enough to joke about, albeit in a fraternal way. But that's the rub. Like cousins, we follow our own paths, occasionally meet, exchange news and leave it at that. A pity, because there's more across the Ditch than sheep, hakas and saunas.

  17. Harry Ricketts, "Book review - The New Zealand Poetry Year Book." Radio NZ: Nine to Noon (Wednesday 5 July 2017):

    Harry Ricketts reviews 'The New Zealand Poetry Year Book'. Published by Massey University Press.

    Duration:  6′ 40″

Charles Olsen, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2017 (16/3/17)