Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Best New Zealand Poems 2016 offers a transporting read

The latest online edition of Best New Zealand Poems is now available, bringing together twenty-five poems that are rich with place and vibrating with a fierce energy.

The anthology has been published annually since 2001 by the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) at Victoria University of Wellington with support from Creative New Zealand.

“Best New Zealand Poems 2016 comes with a brand new look that includes author photos and a search feature,” says series editor, poet and IIML senior lecturer Chris Price.

This year’s edition represents the cream of New Zealand poetry published in 2016, as selected by poet and Arts Foundation Laureate Jenny Bornholdt.

Ms Bornholdt says she picked poems that “made me pause and put a book/pile of paper down; made me want to go to the bakery and buy a cream torpedo then make coffee; or put my gumboots on and go and inspect the compost—the things I do when I need to think”.

Internationally acclaimed and Ockham New Zealand Book Award-shortlisted writers Ashleigh Young and Hera Lindsay Bird, and the father/son duo Tim and Oscar Upperton are among the poets who have made the cut. The anthology takes flight into the past with an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, soars with an orphaned falcon named Avro Vulcan, yet always manages to return to earth in a recognisably New Zealand landscape and culture.

Place is a key theme in this year’s selection, and the poets often find themselves transported—in both senses of the word. Claire Orchard’s ‘Charms’ takes a drive through her childhood neighbourhood to examine her past life, James Brown heads for the trig in a Wellington wind and 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize winner Ashleigh Young is galloped away screaming on a frightened horse. John Dennison meditates on man’s urge to fly; Andrew Johnston travels outside of time and space at the ear, nose, and throat doctor’s; and Tim Upperton visits Kansas, well, kind of.

Other poets find their way around life’s biggest emotions and events. Bill Nelson writes a memorandum of understanding to his love; Anna Livesey examines the death of her mother, the birth of her child and cabbages; Tusiata Avia looks at a photo of her house, and watches it populate with people, spirits and history. 
“The poems themselves are as fresh as this morning’s milk. There’s never been a better time to encounter new New Zealand poetry,” says Chris Price.

The new site has been designed by poet Rachel O’Neill.

Best New Zealand Poems 2016 can be viewed online at www.bestnewzealandpoems.co.nz.

No comments: