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AUP Authors Win at the Montana NZ Book Awards


Auckland University Press Authors Win at the Montana NZ Book Awards

The Collected Poems of C K Stead, 1951–2006, selected and edited by C K Stead himself and published by Auckland University Press, has won the Reference and Anthology Award at the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Announcing the award at a gala ceremony in Auckland on 27 July, the judges described Stead’s Collected Poems as a major production as well as a major collection of poetry produced in this country.

“Auckland University Press has produced a fine book that ushers Stead into the company of Curnow and Baxter. Reading through this book solidifies Stead’s claim to major status as a later twentieth-century New Zealand poets who has achieved international as well as national esteem..”

The judges found that what further distinguished this book from its competitors was the selection of the work to make a new whole

“Its editorial intelligence marks it as an anthology that adds something significant and new to the work as it has appeared thus far.”

C K Stead, ONZ, CBE, is Professor Emeritus in English of The University of Auckland, where he taught for 20 years. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the University in 2008.

Everything Talks, by Sam Sampson, another alumnus of The University of Auckland, won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry. The announcement was made last Friday, Montana Poetry Day, and the award presented at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards last night.

Sam Sampson has an MA in Philosophy from the University and was for some time a for some time tutored in its ethnomusicology Department.

The judges said 2008 was a particularly strong year for poetry publishing generally and for new poets in particular.

In Everything Talks, they said, winning newcomer Sam Sampson “adopts a language-based experimentalism that takes us on an unpredictable ride through poems in which we glimpse every so often recognised signposts of New Zealand literature like Allen Curnow turned to a distinct new purpose.

“The work we selected as winner displays an uncompromising effort to make language work intensely, to generate excitement and involvement from the reader, and to toy with access to meaning.”

Each Category of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards carries a prize of $5,000. The winners of the NZSA Best First book Awards win $2,500 each.


Poem for Montana Poetry Day 2009

from ALOE & OTHER POEMS by Diana Bridge
Launching tonight at Unity Books, Wellington


Each silver grey leaf whirls out from the stem in a movement
both spaced and communal. Each tapering arm is inflated
with life. Remember how that sort of energy swirled
in her veins as her back bent almost to the floor,
and how her arms aspired, as these leaves curve
and stretch – a gentle arrested crescendo?
There for the taking, the equation. She shelters,
evergreen, among the fountaining leaves, a girl like Tess,
culled from your own or some collective memory.
The thought you get – as light outlines the rim
of sharp inverted scallops that make a bread knife
of each edge – is protection. To the dancer
her bouncer. Your eye moves on among the aspirant
tips to one cut back, or blighted. It browns;
as surely as a girl turns crone it shrivels to a claw.
But why go past the streaming glue of sap,
the glinting spider-web fine rim?
Why bring her image in?
There never was, God knows, a dancer here –
only your need to fix the thing, grab at its life
by any means but grab it now, right down at the root.
And she is just a version of those stories poets tell,
the half-made stories that they tell when they try
to join what lies beyond all hope of joining.

© Scoop Media

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