Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Classic NZ Poets by Region

The road goes through to somewhere else
– Kendrick Smithyman

Here's my preliminary attempt at a regional breakdown of the 27 poets in our anthology, Classic New Zealand Poets in Performance:

  • Place -- Name -- Dates -- Pages in Classic NZ Poets


  • A. R. D. Fairburn (1904-1957) 1-7
  • mainly Devonport and the North Shore, though he also worked at Auckland university and at ELAM.
  • Kevin Ireland (b.1933) 82-86
  • mainly Devonport and the North Shore, though he spent 25 years working as a journalist in the UK.
  • R. A. K. Mason (1905-1971) 8-13
  • born in Penrose, but lived later at a succession of addresses on the North Shore (including Mairangi Bay).
  • Keith Sinclair (1922-1993) 31-33
  • brought up in Pt Chevalier, he moved later to Takapuna, across the Harbour Bridge.
  • C. K. Stead (b.1932) 75-81
  • strongly associated with the Sargeson school on the North Shore, he subsequently moved to Parnell.


  • Allen Curnow (1911-2001) 16-22
  • born in Timaru, and moved to Auckland in 1950. Much of his later poetry is set there, particularly on Karekare beach.
  • Denis Glover (1912-1980) 23-25
  • born in Dunedin, brought up in Christchurch, and lived in Wellington (writing memorably about its harbour).


  • Alistair Te Ariki Campbell (b.1925) 60-64
  • though he moved to New Zealand as a child, he has written a good deal (poetry & prose) about his Polynesian heritage.


  • Lauris Edmond (1924-2000) 45-49
  • brought up in Hawkes Bay and educated in Wellington, she is strongly associated with the Central North Island.


  • James K. Baxter (1926-1972) 65-70
  • also has strong associations with Wellington, Auckland and Jerusalem on the Whanganui River.
  • Charles Brasch (1909-1973) 14-15
  • lived in Britain for a long time, but came back to New Zealand to found and edit Landfall in the 1950s.
  • Janet Frame (1924-2004) 50-54
  • from Oamaru, though she lived in many different parts of the country, including Sargeson’s bach in Takapuna.
  • Brian Turner (b.1944) 131-137
  • lives in Central Otago, after many years of writing and working in Dunedin.


  • Michael Harlow (b.1937) 98-102
  • born in New York, he has lived in Greece, Christchurch and (now) Central Otago.


  • Riemke Ensing (b.1939) 109-112
  • moved to New Zealand at the age of twelve; she was brought up in Northland and subsequently moved to Auckland.


  • Alistair Paterson (b.1929) 71-74
  • born in Nelson, went to university in Wellington, and is now living in Auckland.
  • Michael Jackson (b.1940) 119-123
  • born in Nelson, brought up in Taranaki, but has spent most of his adult life abroad (Sierra Leone, the USA, etc.)


  • Kendrick Smithyman (1922-1995) 34-39
  • though he moved to Auckland at the age of nine, he always retained strong links with the north.
  • Hone Tuwhare (b.1922) 40-44
  • also strong links with Dunedin and Otago, where he now lives (Kaka Point).


  • Albert Wendt (b.1939) 113-118
  • born in Apia, he was educated in New Plymouth and Wellington before returning to Samoa (now based in Auckland).


  • Elizabeth Smither (b.1941) 126-130
  • born in New Plymouth, she has spent most of her life working there as a librarian.


  • Fleur Adcock (b.1934) 87-92
  • born in Auckland and educated in Wellington, she has spent much of her adult life in the UK.
  • Peter Bland (b.1934) 93-97
  • born in Yorkshire, he moved to New Zealand at the age of 20. He is principally associated with Wellington.
  • M. K. Joseph (1914-1981) 26-30
  • born in Essex and educated in France, he moved to Tauranga at the age of 10, and subsequently moved to Auckland.


  • Louis Johnson (1924-1988) 55-59
  • born and brought up in Wellington, he later worked in Australia and New Guinea before returning to New Zealand.
  • David Mitchell (b.1940) 124-125
  • born in Wellington, he made his reputation as a performance poet there and in Auckland in the 60s and 70s.
  • Vincent O'Sullivan (b.1937) 103-108
  • born in Auckland, he taught in Wellington and Waikato before returning to the capital to live.

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