CK Stead was awarded the inaugural 2014 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize.
Stead is one of New Zealand’s most prominent writers and critics, as well as a recipient of New Zealand’shighest honour (the Order of New Zealand), and the 2009 Montana Book Award for his Collected Poems, among numerous other awards.
- Other Finalists -
Emma Neale is a Dunedin-based poet (four collections published), novelist, teacher, mentor and anthologist. She has a PhD in English Literature from London’s University College, received the inaugural Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature (2008), the Kathleen Grattan Award for Poetry (2011) and was the 2012 Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago. She was the Summer Resident at the Michael King Centre in 2014. Her latest collection is entitled The Truth Garden. Emma’s poems often find a starting point in her domestic life – with her exquisitely tuned ear and her roving mind producing lines of singing clarity. The musicality is enhanced by a sumptuous vocabulary, by single words that stand out in a line and a rhythm that gives each poem startling breath and movement. What struck the judges particularly is the way each poem is made more complex – through an unfolding pocket narrative, meditative strains of thought, aching confession, political sharpness, the Rollercoaster ride of maternal feeling. These were definitely poems with an aftertaste that kept you wanting more.
Kirsti Whalen is a poet and disability advocate currently studying Creative Writing at Manukau Institute with Robert Sullivan and Eleanor Catton. She has written and read poetry since she was a child, and has won both the Katherine Mansfield Young Writers Award and the Bell Gully National Secondary Schools Poetry Award. She has published poems in various journals. Kirsti is a fresh young voice on the poetry horizon line. Her entries indicate she has an astonishing ear for the way sounds soar on a line, the way they dip and fall. Her syntax is bold and on the move but she is unafraid of neither simplicity nor silent beats. The poems take you into the heart of family from a mother’s x-rays to kitchen dinners to a grandmother’s quince trees. Each poem is brought alive to a startling degree with sensual detail, electric connections, canny ellipsis, judicious repetition. It is a voice that feels original, that is willing to take risks and that exudes a love of writing in every nook and cranny.
2014 Guest Judge
Sam Hunt is a well-known poet and performer. The extensive number of his publications and his memorable performances contribute to his popularity and wide readership. He has read his work in Australia, New York and Washington DC, and is well known for his performances in numerous pubs, bars, community halls, cafes, and in concert venues.
His contributions to New Zealand literature have been recognised with numerous accolades, including a QSM in 1986 for his contribution to New Zealand poetry, and a 2012 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement. Hunt was honoured as a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit in 2010.
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“Every good poem asks a question, and every good poet asks every question.”
– Dorianne Laux