The anthology includes work from well known writers like Fleur Adcock, Elizabeth Smither, Ian Wedde, Jenny Bornholdt, James Brown, Gregory O'Brien and Poet Laureate Cilla McQueen as well as some of the rising stars of New Zealand literature.
This year’s Best New Zealand Poems is edited by Victoria University Senior Lecturer Chris Price—a former editor of Landfall and herself a well-known poet. She says she is particularly pleased to have included “two comets long lost from the local poetry firmament”—David Mitchell, who has published almost nothing since his near-legendary Pipe Dreams in Ponsonby in 1972, and John Newton, author of the much admired book about Baxter’s Jerusalem, The Double Rainbow.
She notes in her introduction that she was looking for—and found—“poems with enough chew and depth to make them worth repeated tasting.”
Series editor Professor Bill Manhire says that it’s exciting to see such a strong selection at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. “It’s one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets, just how good we are at poetry – Best New Zealand Poems is one way of telling the world what we all know locally.”
Professor Manhire and his colleague Damien Wilkins have been making a “best of the best” selection from the first ten years of Best New Zealand Poems. It will be published by Victoria University Press, and launched in May at the Auckland Writers’ Festival.
Professor Manhire says that sound files will soon to be added to back issues of Best New Zealand Poems. “We already have authors’ notes and lots of useful links. But everyone tells us that poems make most sense when their authors read them aloud. Now you’ll be able to see the poems on screen and hear the poets read them at the same time.”