The latest issue of online anthology Best New Zealand Poems is now available. This issue comes with a South Island perspective and Irish rhythm. This year’s editor is Christchurch poet, playwright and fiction writer Bernadette Hall who sums up her top 25 poems, selected from a vast number published in 2011, with a phrase from an Irish wedding song—“They are the crown of good company,” she says.
To access Best New Zealand Poems 11 please follow this link.
Major events have shaken New Zealand in recent times, says Hall, and it is wonderful to see how strong the voice of poetry has been in response. The tragedies of Pike River mine and the Christchurch earthquakes are here, held in words
that have been allowed to ferment and flow. Hall was struck by an irresistible element in the poems she selected—their “capacity for unsettlement, the thing in a poem that works against the expected, against dogma and rhetoric and convention.”
The work spans poetic generations, from The most beautiful love poem of all time by 2011 Adam Prize winner, 25-year-old Hera Lindsay Bird, to In Dad’s Council House, a nursery rhyme for grown-ups by 77-year-old actor and poet Peter Bland, recipient of a 2011 Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement.
Professor Bill Manhire, Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters, has
relinquished his role as overall series editor of Best New Zealand Poems and is now in the happy position of just being a poet. He makes a first-time appearance in the anthology, with an echoing and unsettling poem called The Schoolbus.
The new overall series editor, poet and International Institute of Modern Letters lecturer Chris Price, says “This edition is particularly rich in new voices, poets we can expect to hear more of in future.” A number of the poems are also available as audio recordings. Acclaimed dancer and choreographer Douglas Wright is among the poets who can be heard reading their work on the site.