Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Best New Zealand Poems 2017


Best New Zealand Poems presents a diverse bouquet of voices

The latest edition of the online anthology Best New Zealand Poems is now live, featuring 25 poems chosen by New Zealand Poet Laureate, Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh.

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

Dr Marsh says that New Zealand poetry is flourishing to such an extent that anthologising proved to be strenuous. “Selecting 25 poems from around 3000 published in books, print and online journals, websites and zines in 2017 was not an easy task,” she says.

“As a Pasifika poet-scholar, I wanted a more egalitarian way to judge the best.  I wanted to do something different, more collaborative, more epistemologically Pasifika,” says Dr Marsh. In addition to selecting poems she personally liked, she sought feedback from a range of other readers, including fellow runners, real estate agents, book club members, students, teachers, family members, people at the bus stop she saw often enough to bug. “And if I remembered any part of the poem, it made my top 25,” she says.

The 2017 selection showcases a wide range of poetic voices, from established figures such as Maualaivao Albert Wendt and NZ Book Award winner Janet Charman, through to emerging writers, many of whom make their first appearance in Best New Zealand Poems 2017.

Series editor and IIML Senior Lecturer Chris Price says, “The word ‘anthology’ comes from a Greek word that means ‘gathering of flowers’. Dr Marsh has given us all a bouquet that reflects the flowering of the many different voices that make up the current poetry scene, and contemporary New Zealand society.”

Dr Marsh dedicates her selection to Victoria University Professor the late Teresia Teaiwa, who passed away in March 2017.

Best New Zealand Poems 2017 can be viewed online at


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