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Very excited to see that the AUP New Poets series is cranking up again. This is such a great poetry series and I’m delighted to be a part of it (I was in AUP New Poets 3, back in 2008). It’s a great way to get to know new voices and I’m so pleased Auckland University Press is relaunching it. There’s a New Poets 5 coming out later this year (with a fresh, new look) and a New Poets 6 in the making too! The wonderful Anna Jackson (who featured in AUP New Poets 1) is editing.

Carolyn de Carlo, one of the AUP New Poets 5 authors, has arranged a reading of past and present “New Poets” at Millers O’Brien gallery in Victoria St. in Wellington (1/85 Victoria St, upstairs, near the Lido) this Tuesday 18th June 2019 at 6:00pm. I’d love to see you there. Here are the deets from Food Court:

“Food Court is proud to present their latest event, an evening of readings by Auckland University Press writers who have been featured in the New Poets series, relaunching with Vol. 5 in August 2019. Consider this a sneak preview of what will be on offer in Vol. 5 and beyond, and a look back at some absolute bangers from over the years.

Current Lineup:
Carolyn DeCarlo
Sophie van Waardenberg
Rebecca Hawkes
Chris Tse
Janis Freegard
Anna Jackson
+ a few surprises!

There is a working lift at the gallery, but there will be limited seating available (8-10 chairs). Please arrive early if this applies to you, or let us know ahead of time, and we will do our best to accommodate all needs and circumstances!”

Here’s the list of AUP New Poets to date:

AUP New Poets 1: Raewyn Alexander, Anna Jackson, Sarah Quigley

(currently listed on Amazon for $149.50 for a used copy (!!!), so clearly a collector’s item)

AUP New Poets 2: Stu Bagby, Jane Gardner, Sonja Yelich


AUP New Poets 3: Janis Freegard, Katherine Liddy, Reihana Robinson


AUP New Poets 4: Harry Jones, Erin Scudder, Chris Tse


AUP New Poets 5: Carolyn de Carlo, Sophie van Waardenberg and Rebecca Hawkes


Rona remembers sorrow

He covers my eyes with his downy pelt,
he rolls me into his marsupial pouch.

I taste the dirt and tang of earth and sex.

My heart lies thumping in its cage.

Now and then I stick my neck out
and deflect my lover’s prowess.

He shudders his love into me, knowing
I am absent.

He strokes me as if I were made of feathers
and hollow bones, as if I were the only
fragile invention.

We both know there is nothing to be done.

In a swivel of space I see
half of earth.

She moves in a daze, understanding
only the animals.

She is wondering if she will make it to the
millennium party.

She coughs
like in the old days.
For this I stick my neck out.

Reihana Robinson

A couple of weeks ago,  I went to the Skyline in Wellington (top of the cable car, stunning views of the harbour) for the launch of Reihana Robinson’s new poetry book, Auē Rona, published by Steele Roberts.  There was wonderful poetry, delicious food, fine company and a most entertaining speech by Roger Steele who pointed out that all three winners of the PM’s literary awards this year (Sam Hunt, Greg O’Brien and Albert Wendt) are poets.  There was even the chance to buy one of Noa Noa von Bassewitz’s woodcut prints, which feature in the book (and yes, there’s now one on our wall).  It was lovely to meet Reihana, finally.  We featured together in AUP New Poets 3 in 2008, but had never actually met.

Auē Rona is a re-telling of the legend of Rona and the moon, but it’s also more than that.  These are poems of love, grief and defiance, poems that move from the moon to Cape Reinga, to the wider Pacific.  In her notes to the collection, Reihana writes:

“The traditional story of Rona and the moon opens as she is collecting water for her children. A cloud covers the moon; she falls, spilling the water, and she curses. As punishment she is torn from earth and taken to the moon, still clutching her calabash and holding a ngaio tree.  Auē Rona. Oh Rona. Oh grief. Oh sorrow.”

Reihana Robinson’s writing has also been published in a number of journals including Landfall, Cutthroat, Hawai’i Review, Trout, Melusine, JAAM,  Takahe, Cezanne’s Carrot and Blackmail Press.  She lives in the Coromandel. You can listen to a Radio NZ podcast featuring Reihana here and visit her website here.

Other Tuesday Poems here.

Aue Rona cover

Tim Jones (author of Transported and various other books) has reviewed AUP New Poets 3 on his blog.  If you’re interested, you can read it here:


You are invited to the launch of


AUP New Poets 3





What is it?

The launch of a poetry book by Janis Freegard,

Katherine Liddy and Reihana Robinson

followed by music from the fabulous Sans Souci


Where is it?

at the Mighty  Mighty  Bar in Cuba Mall

(upstairs between Rex Royale and Mr Bun)


When is it?

on Weds 13th August 08  5:30  – 7:30pm


Can I bring my friends? Workmates?  People I meet on the street?

The more the merrier!


What can I expect there?

poetry! at 6ish

  accordion music! at 6:30ish

  free spiders!

   fine company!

  cheese straws!


What if I hate poetry?

You can hang out at the bar with the other philistines until it’s over.


What’s with the spiders?

Janis’ section of the book is called ‘The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider and Other Tales”

but only Janis will be there on account of the other two being overseas




Janis on Twitter

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December 2020

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