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AUP’s Ian Wedde Announced as New Zealand Poet Laureate

AUP’s Ian Wedde Announced as New Zealand Poet Laureate

Auckland University Press and the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre congratulate their distinguished poet and University of Auckland scholar Ian Wedde, who has been announced as the third New Zealand Poet Laureate (2011/2013).

Two out of the three New Zealand Poet Laureates, therefore, have been Auckland University Press poets as well as staff members of The University of Auckland when selected for this prestigious post.

Ian’s editor at Auckland University press, Anna Hodge, said, “Ian Wedde is a fabulous, formidable poet. He combines heart-string lyricism with a keen interest in form and a wry, humane humour. A year or so ago Ian gave a talk called ‘Does poetry matter?’ at The University of Auckland and concluded, with some characteristically thoughtful caveats, asides and lookings-hard at whether the question was useful, that indeed poetry did matter. His work over many years has always borne this out. Auckland University Press is thrilled that Ian is getting the opportunity to wield the laureate tokotoko and offers our delighted congratulations. ”

Inaugural New Zealand Poet Laureate Michele Leggott, also founding director of the NZ Electronic Poetry Centre said, “Ian Wedde is an excellent speaker, a marvellous performer, a generous poetic colleague and someone who will take seriously the multiple demands of the New Zealand Poet Laureateship.

“His track record as a poet, editor and critic is first-class and getting stronger with each new publication. He is an Arts Foundation Laureate and has won almost every literary award the country can offer. More than this, Ian is deeply committed to promoting poetry as a site for transcultural exchange and experimentation with the visual arts. He likes drawing together writers and artists, authors and audiences, looking always for the unexpected cross-overs, the points where one kind of art or writing finds its way into another set of eyes or ears.”

The Minister responsible for the National Library of New Zealand announced the appointment at a function at Parliament this morning. Acknowledging the appointment, the National Library says on its website, “The National Library warmly welcomes Ian Wedde to the position of New Zealand Poet Laureate. We think he’s going to do rather well”.

Ian Wedde teaches in the English and Art History Departments of The University of Auckland and is a foundation poet of NZ Electronic Poetry Centre (www.nzepc.auckland.ac.nz), an important international and national digital resource for poets, schools, universities and the reading public.

He is a prolific and awardwinning author of poetry, fiction and art history. From 1966 his poems have been appearing in literary journals and magazines, and he has now published some 14 collections of poems, including the sell-out The Commonplace Odes (AUP, 2002). He won the 1977 Book Award for Fiction for his first novel, Dick Seddon’s Great Dive, and the 1978 New Zealand Book Award for Poetry for Spells for Coming Out (Auckland University Press). Ralph Hotere: Black Light, of which he was the general editor, won the Illustrative Arts section of the 2001 Montana NZ Book Awards.

The New Zealand Poet Laureate Award was established in 2007, succeeding the Te Mata Poet Laureate Award, to recognise writers who have made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand poetry. Administered by the National Library of New Zealand, the Poet Laureate is selected biennially and receives an award of $50,000 per year and a specially commissioned tokotoko symbolising their authority and status. The Poet Laureate's working papers and published work are preserved in the National Library's National Digital Heritage Archive and in the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

ENDS

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