Poetry competition winners for 2013

We have the winners of our National Poetry Day poetry competition! Congratulations to Irena Tojcic and Daniel Bartlett. The judge said:

We had an overwhelming response to the poetry competition and every single entry was outstanding. It was a hugely difficult task to pick a winner out of the nearly 130 poems entered. It was even more difficult to pick a winner out of the top 10 shortlisted poems as each one was moving and/or thought provoking. I kept coming back to two poems in particular and after much angst chose this one as the overall winner.

Here are the winning poems:

Untitled by Irena Tojcic (Winner)

I touched the ground
Underneath your shadow,
Warm it was.
I turned around and
Met your name,
Familiar it was.
I kept silent,
Holding tightly
A pulsating fish of my heart,
Not letting it escape
Into your river.

Birthday Party by Daniel Barlett (Runner up)

It’s pretty dark
And only getting darker
So put on your parka
And close your front door

You’re looking great
And I’m a mess
But nevertheless
I’ll be trying my best
To keep it together

And keep you interested
For at least
The next ten minutes

And when we get to town
When we get to your friend’s house
As I’m sure we will

I’ll let go of your hand
As you push ahead

And I’ll want to say your name
But instead
I’ll say nothing

I’ll just wait
For the security light
To click on

Letting your shadow

Measure the distance between us

Hone Tuwhare – A Poet to Arouse the Senses

When I heard in 2008 that Hone Tuwhare  had died, I felt saddened. I thought about how the country had lost one of its special artists and wordsmiths and from now on, there would be no new poems conjured from his wonderful mind. Fortunately the library collection has many of his books, along with a biography by Janet Hunt and a CD of this poems, Tuwhare,  put to music and performed by leading New Zealand artists.

I first came across one of his poems in Essential New Zealand Poems, a book, by the way, that is a excellent collection of some our finest poets’ works.

I went on to explore more of his works, he published over 20 collections in book form and was a fascinating person to hear being interviewed or reading his work. Insightful, irreverent and accessible, his poems are a celebration of life, and he particularly loved writing about food, sex, music and nature. His political poems are pithy and relevant yet from the common man’s point of view.

From his collection “Oooooo……!!!”

On life’s eternal river we float on… and on, forever – like a stream of light enhancing our understanding of human love and life! Kia Ora!

Who is your favourite New Zealand poet?

Oh to be in high school English again where poetry is wrung out and left to dry

Cover: "Our Favourite Poems"I wish I hadn’t studied poetry at high school.

I wish I had been left to wander lonely as a cloud and to lie amid the daffodils.Why could I not be left to explore Xanadu’s pleasure domes at my leisure?

If I had been left to enjoy poetry, I would have put to sea in my pea-green boat and rescued the boy from a burning deck. We would sail away for a year and a day (or until I understood haiku poetry). We would bump against a foreign shore that will be forever England.

If  I hadn’t been made to study poetry at school, I would run over hill and dale, clasping my book of poems. I would ride the colt from old Regret across my sunburnt country. I would dip my toes in  the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea and  The Bloke would take Doreen to see a play.

Before I studied poetry in high school, I was let to run across glade and glen, shunning the frumious Bandersnatch and brandishing my vorpal blade. I knew why a raven was like a desk and I knew for whom the bell tolled. It tolled for my family, telling us to hurry up or we’ll be late for church. Before I studied poetry, I knew not what the poet meant, only what was said.

Alas, dear reader, my teacher took my much loved poems from me

and told me what the poet really meant to say.

The poems lost their colour and the images faded away.

So tell me if you can… Is it too late for Hunt, Dennis, Thomas, Yeats and Wordsworth to weave a colourful poem for me?

Or have I found a Boojum?

National Poetry Day Friday 30 July

National Poetry Day is on its way:

New Zealand’s national day of poetry … is a celebration of this country’s unique and vibrant poetic voice – whether it is odes, myths and legends, serious social commentary or just plain good fun …


  • coverChristchurch City Libraries blog poetry competition
    Send us your poems (under 300 words) to us at libwebteam@ccc.govt.nz and we will bedeck and bedazzle the blog with your masterpieces on National Poetry Day. You also get a chance to win The Adventures of Vela by Albert Wendt or some cool t-shirts .
  • Time out competition
    To celebrate National Poetry Day 2010, Time Out Bookstore, in conjunction with the Sunday Star-Times, is holding a nationwide poetry competition. Submissions will be accepted by email only to competition@timeout.co.nz, subject line ‘poetry’, and close 5pm, Thursday 15 July.
  • Page and Blackmore Booksellers (Nelson) competition
    Deadline 23 July.

Events in Christchurch

Author and poet Helen Lowe and the Women on Air radio show have made July a month of poetry, and there will be poems and poets aplenty to enjoy.

Find out about Events on the Booksellers website including:

  • Poems for Lunch – A Menu of Astonishing Variety
    12.30 – 1.30 pm, Friday 30th July 2010.
    University Bookshop on Campus, Canterbury University. On the day, come and join us for a feast of poetry, including the launch of a new poetry book, Guarding the Cellar Door by Linda Connell (Steele Roberts) and performances by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Roger Hickin, Tusiata Avia, Micah Timona-Ferris and writers from the School for Young Writers. Tea and coffee provided – bring your sandwiches and join us in celebrating a very special National Poetry Day
  • Poetry for Pudding
    7pm – 8.30 pm, Friday 30th July 2010
    Borders Bookshop Rotherham Street Riccarton. You are invited to a celebratory evening of victuals and poetry to warm your “vitals”. Come to eat, read and/or listen, but mostly come to enjoy. Entry is free. Poets and listeners of all stages and ages welcome! Sponsored by Airing Cupboard Women Poets. For acceptance and further information, email mck-h@hotmail.com

Poetry at Christchurch City Libraries

CoverWe love poetry all year round: