SARAH BROOM

THE LIFE AND WORK OF A NEW ZEALAND POET

SARAH BROOM POETRY PRIZE - 2016 WINNER

New Plymouth based poet Elizabeth Smither was announced as the winner of the 2016 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize at the Auckland Writers Festival.

Smither has published twelve collections of poems. She has also published two novels, two collections of short stories and a book for children. She is a former NZ Poet Laureat and her work has garnered several awards.

The acclaimed Irish poet Paul Muldoon was the judge of the prize in 2016 and read all the entries because he wanted to find the entries “that judge you, that read you and impress themselves upon you.” Before announcing Elizabeth Smither as the winner of the 2016 Sarah Broom Poetry Prize Paul Muldoon read some of Sarah Broom’s poems including Holding the Line and said: “We’re all trying to hold the line of poetry which seems a little perilous, but that’s what we’re all trying to do.”

Elizabeth Smither read a couple of her poems, as did the other shortlisted poets Airini Beautrais and Amanda Hunt. On accepting the $12,000 award Elizabeth Smither remarked: “It feels like having your first poem accepted again. The chase is always on for the next poem that might be better though it is always moving out of reach.”

The prize, was established to celebrate the life and work of Sarah Broom (1972-2013), author of Tigers at Awhitu and Gleam, about which Elizabeth Smither said: “I heard that a whole new cluster of planets has just been discovered. That’s how I think of Sarah’s poems: flying through space, serene and beautiful, wrought from tragedy and beauty.”

 

enter2016 JUDGE

Paul Muldoon
Guest Judge


Other finalsts

Airini Beautrais: a Whanganui-based poet, teacher, and mother of two young children, the author of three collections, including Dear Neil Roberts (Victoria University Press, 2014).

Amanda Hunt: a poet and ecologist living in Rotorua, whose work has appeared in anthologies of the New Zealand Poetry Society, online, and in newspapers.