The New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competition 2022 is open!

I edited the 2021 New Zealand Poetry Society anthology Kissing a Ghost, with the invaluable assistance of Anne Harré who did the design and production work – and I’m also going to edit the 2022 anthology.

Cover of poetry anthology Kissing a Ghost

Each year’s anthology includes all the winning, placed, highly commended and commended poems from the four categories of the NZPS’s International Poetry Competition, which means around half the poems in the anthology are chosen by the judges. My job as editor is to go through all the remaining competition entries and select those that I like most and that will make for a rounded anthology that works as a book.

Check out the competition info below from the New Zealand Poetry Society and start putting your competition entry together! The competition closes on 31 May 2022.

The New Zealand Poetry Society Competition for 2022 is open for entries!

Our competition is open to all members and non-members, worldwide, with members receiving an entry fee discount.

There are cash prizes to be won in each category, and all entries are eligible to be published in our anthology. Our annual anthology includes all placed and commended poems, as well as a selection of other favourite poems from the competition.

Poets can enter one of these four sections:
Open verse for adults (18 years and over)
Open verse for juniors (17 years or younger)
Haiku for adults (18 years and over)
Haiku for juniors (17 years or younger)

Class teachers can enter multiple poems from their students, using the school group form. There is also a discount for entering multiple entries as a school group.

Entry forms for all categories including school groups are now available to download on our website. Remember to read through the guidelines and rules for the section you’re submitting too, we’d hate to see your work disqualified. Since this international competition is open to all, forward this email to any and all friends, family, co-writers and fellow poetry enthusiasts, get the word out there!

Entries must be received by 31 May 2022.

Keen to enter? Click here for submission guidelines and entry forms!

Due to COVID-19, our competition is running solely online this year. If you have previously entered by post and would like guidance in entering online, we are happy to help. For this and any other queries, please email the Competition Coordinator, Georgia Wearing, at

A Review, A Colony, A Competition, Several Genres, and a Beautiful Thing

Time for one of those posts that covers just about everything:

A new review of Transported

Rosemarie Smith has given a positive review in the Southland Times to my short story collection Transported (which you can buy online from Fishpond, New Zealand Books Abroad (for both overseas and New Zealand residents), or Whitcoulls). This former Southlander is pleased to see another good review of Transported in a South Island newspaper.

Wellington Writers’ Colony several steps closer

I blogged a while back about Doug Wilkins and his plan to set up a Wellington Writers’ Colony, modeled on the Sanchez Grotto Annex in San Francisco. Those plans are now several steps closer to fruition. Doug needs just one more writer on board to make the Colony a reality. I have now seen the space he’s planning to use, and it is well-lit, stylish and comfy. If you would like your own dedicated writing space alongside a group of like-minded writers, then contact Doug at or 021-138-5050.

New Poetry Competition and the New Zealand Poetry Society have jointly announced a new poetry competition, with prizes for poetry in both written and performance (audio or video) format. The competition begins on Monday 22 September and runs for six weeks, and the prizes on offer are attractive:


* 1st US$500, 2nd $200, 3rd $100 – each section
* Overall Winner $500
* All prizes in US Dollars.

Judged by the New Zealand Poetry Society

* People’s Performance Choice $500 (Audio and Video section only-
awarded to the person delivering poem)

Judged by registered Bookhabit users

For the full entry conditions and other details, see

The Great Genre Debate Continues

The questions of genre which have been discussed on this blog by Johanna Knox and myself (here and here), plus plenty of commenters, are alive and well in the blogosphere. A couple of examples:

– Michael Chabon and Jeffrey Ford on why genre tags don’t matter.
– Charlie Anders asks Do You Really Want Science Fiction Books To Be More Literary?

A Beautiful Thing

God-With-Us is Reginald Shepherd’s last poem, written as he lay dying. It’s a beautiful meditation on faith, belief and doubt. I think it might be the best poem I’ve read this year, and I have read some very, very good ones.

Good News from Ireland

New Zealander Heidi North has just won the 1,000 Euro first prize in the Adult English section of the 2007 International Féile Filíochta Poetry Competition in Ireland with her poem The Women.

That’s great news: great for Heidi, great for New Zealand poetry, but also especially pleasing to me because Heidi and I were part of the 2003 intake for the Victoria University undergraduate creative writing paper CREW 256 Writing the Landscape, taught by Dinah Hawken.

I have ambivalent feelings about creative writing courses in general, but my feelings about this course remain quite unmixed: it’s great. Dinah is a wonderful tutor, the course (covering landscape writing in both poetry and creative non-fiction) was excellent, and the group of students in 2003 – twelve of us, eight women and four men, ranging in age from early 20s to considerably older, and with widely differing levels of prior writing experience – really clicked. Some fine work was written on that course (and not all of it was about penguins mating under the floorboards of the houses on Matiu-Somes).

About half the original group still live in and around Wellington. After the course finished, many of us continued to meet regularly to share our work; we don’t meet so often any more, but we still catch up from time to time. Many of those unpublished at the time of the course have gone on to subsequent publication, and Heidi isn’t the only one to be making a name for herself: I expect I’ll be mentioning the successes of other members of the group sooner rather than later.

I like Heidi’s poem a lot, and I’m delighted for her success. If you’re at all interested in landscape and nature writing, or if you’re simply interested in becoming a better writer, and you live in the Wellington region, I can recommend Writing the Landscape as a course that’s well worth taking.