Exciting news that Cilla McQueen is NZ’s new poet laureate! The National Library function to announce the appointment was very well attended this evening, which just goes to show what a huge level of support there is for poetry in this country (and I do think Sam Hunt, Hone Tuwhare, Alistair Campbell and Jan Kemp can take some credit for that, given their wonderful touring poetry show of NZ schools back in 1979? which even National Library Minister Nathan Guy mentioned tonight.)
Cheers to Cilla, and of course to outgoing poet laureate Michele Leggott, who’s done a fine job of promoting poetry all over the country during her “reign”. (I did think that Michele should have selected the next laureate by lining up all the poets and chucking the specially carved laureate tokotoko over her shoulder and seeing who caught it – maybe next time…)
Cilla McQueen, based in Bluff, has a long commitment to NZ poetry. More about her here http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/writers/mcqueencilla.html
She’s an interesting choice, given she’s one of the more “popular” poets and a frequent user of humour. Let’s hope Cilla hits the schools and the streets and continues to bring poetry alive!
I think Cilla is a really good choice. Thanks for spreading the news!
It also occurs to me that while Great Britain is getting all excited at having their first ever female poet laureate (the wonderful Carol Ann Duffy), New Zealand is quietly clocking up a fourth (counting previous Te Mata laureates Elizabeth Smither & Jenny Bornholdt).
Media statment on Cilla’s appointment at:
Yes Janis, the tokotoko over her shoulder is a great idea! But can good poets catch?