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Best New Zealand Poems now online

1 April 2014

Best New Zealand Poems now online

Best New Zealand Poems 2013 has been published online, showcasing work from award-winning poets, including the current Poet Laureate, to new and emerging talents.

The 2013 edition includes work from award-winning poets such as Fleur Adcock, current Poet Laureate Vincent O’Sullivan and Anne Kennedy through to emerging talents such as Chris Tse and the Irish-New Zealand poet Caoilinn Hughes. It has been edited by Professor Mark Williams and Professor Jane Stafford from Victoria University of Wellington.

In deciding what to include in Best New Zealand Poems, both editors have drawn on their experience of wading through 200 years of New Zealand literature when putting together the landmark Auckland University Press Anthology of New Zealand Literature (2012). They chose 25 poems to include in the anthology, put them in a historical context and described the current state of New Zealand’s “best” poetry.

After the “torrid but not wholly unenjoyable” task of editing the anthology, the editors say it was liberating to be confined to one year’s slim bulk of poetry with Best New Zealand Poems.

“What we looked for, and found,” write Professors Stafford and Williams, “were poems of clarity and suggestiveness, poems that act as a dynamic conversation with the reader — rule poems, riddle poems, mix-of register poems, social pattern poems with something withheld, poems which are dramatic, lyrical and coherent, without tired lines or dull phrases.”

Series editor and poet Chris Price, who is a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters, says: “While many previous editors of Best New Zealand Poems have themselves been poets, it’s been stimulating and revealing to have the 2013 edition selected by two professional critics of New Zealand literature. I’m sure their introduction will provoke further conversations and debates.”

Best New Zealand Poems 2013 includes a number of impressive long poems (and extracts from long poems) by leading writers such as Ian Wedde, Michele Leggott and Dinah Hawken, and relative newcomers such as Amy Brown.

A number of the poems are also available as audio recordings. Auckland poet Selina Tusitala Marsh and Irish/New Zealand poet Caoilinn Hughes are among those who can be heard reading their work on the site.

Best New Zealand Poems, published by the IIML, was first published online in 2001, and features a different editor each year. In 2011 Victoria University Press published The Best of the Best New Zealand Poems, a selection from the first 10 years of the collection in book form.

Best New Zealand Poems 2013 can be viewed at

It is published with the support of Creative New Zealand, and hosted by the New Zealand Electronic Text Collection at Victoria University.


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