Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2019


Poetry New Zealand Yearbook is New Zealand’s longest-running poetry journal. Continually in print since 1951 when it was established by poet Louis Johnson, the 2019 edition of this annual collection of new writing, reviews and poetics discussion is a hefty, handsome 344-page book. It is sure to be compulsory reading for poetry fans.

Issue #53 of Poetry New Zealand Yearbook contains more than 120 poems by both emerging voices, rising stars and established and award-winning New Zealand poets. They live everywhere from Northland to Dunedin and they include Sue Fitchett, Emma Neale, Bob Orr, Vaughan Rapatahana and 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards poetry category winner Elizabeth Smither.

Issue #53’s featured poet is Hamilton-based poet Stephanie Christie, about whom Yearbook editor Jack Ross says, ‘I’ve been impressed and (at times) flabbergasted by the sheer virtuosic brinksmanship of Stephanie Christie’s poetry. It’s great to be able to introduce her poems to a wider audience.’

Issue #53 also features three substantial essays, reviews of new poetry collections and dual-text poems in Chinese, German, Spanish and te reo Māori. It also showcases the poems of the winner and second- and third-place winners of the third annual Poetry New Zealand Poetry Prize, for which close to 300 entries were received. First prize went to Wellington poet Wes Lee, Brett Gartrell from the Manawatū was second, and Natalie Modrich of Auckland received third prize.

A new inclusion in the 2019 Yearbook are the poems of the three prize winners in the inaugural Poetry New Zealand Yearbook competition for high school students, which attracted a wide number of entries. The top three were Aigagalefili Fepulea‘i-Tapua‘i (Year 11, Aorere College), Kathryn Briggs (Year 12, Baradene College of the Sacred Heart) and Amberleigh Rose (Year 13, Kuranui College). Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2019 will be launched at the Devonport Library, North Shore, Auckland, on Tuesday 5 March at 7pm. It is a free public event (koha appreciated) and the evening will feature readings by a strong delegation of the poets published in the 2019 edition.

PRAISE FOR THE 2018 EDITION: ‘It’s all too easy to look around at naked bachelors marrying at first sight, and clowns clowning where current affairs used to be, and despair about the state of the world and the taste of the people in it. But then, the Poetry Yearbook turns up again, to show there is still room for sophistication and quality at a reasonable price.’ — Paul Little, North & South

ABOUT THE EDITOR 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 & Sequences 1981–2014, was published by HeadworX in 2014. His blog is The Imaginary Museum: mairangibay.blogspot.com/.

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