A snapshot of New Zealand’s finest poetry is launched online today by Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML).
Each year the online anthology Best New Zealand Poems (www.victoria.ac.nz/bestnzpoems) signs up a different editor to produce a survey of the very best poetry published in the preceding year, with Wellington writer and editor James Brown doing the honours this year.
Brown, who says he did his best to read every poem published in 2008, arrived at his personal top 25 by sifting through a large and healthy crop.
“I could have chosen more than one poem from many of the poets represented here,” he says.
While his 2008 selection features many of the established names of New Zealand poetry—Jenny Bornholdt, Peter Bland,(pic left), Sam Hunt, Bernadette Hall and current poet laureate Michele Leggott,
While some of the poems are distinctly New Zealand in subject matter, others exhibit an internationalism of voice and style that suggests the current generation of New Zealand poets feels at home all over the geo-poetical map.
In a feature perhaps unique among New Zealand anthologies, each poem comes with a note from the author that illuminates its background and offers an entry point for readers looking for an insight into what makes poetry tick.
Professor Bill Manhire, Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters, says the aim of Best New Zealand Poems is to make New Zealand’s latest and best poetry accessible anywhere on the globe, something made possible by its release on the internet. “This would simply not be viable in terms of conventional book publishing. Most of all, it breaks through the distribution barrier which usually prevents New Zealand poetry from reaching an international audience.”
A high proportion of visitors to Best New Zealand Poems come from overseas.
Best New Zealand Poems 2008 is published with the support of Creative New Zealand, and hosted by the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre at Victoria University.
For further information contact Chris Price, email email@example.com