Welcome from Chris Price
Best New Zealand Poems is published annually by the International Institute of Modern Letters, and aims to introduce readers—especially internationally—to leading contemporary New Zealand poets. The poems are chosen to show the vitality and range of current writing. We have shamelessly modelled this online project on the successful US paperback anthology, The Best American Poetry. Each year we publish 25 poems from recent literary magazines and poetry collections, where possible including notes about and by the poet, as well as links to related publishing and literary websites. In this way we hope that readers will be able to follow up fresh discoveries. There are plenty to be made.
Since last year we have moved from a temporary site housing Best New Zealand Poems 2016 to what we hope will be our new online home for some time to come. The heavy lifting has been done by poet Rachel O’Neill, and the project administration for this issue has been handled by Airini Beautrais. We are still at work on migrating all previous issues to this new platform, and back issues may at times be temporarily unavailable. We thank you for your patience while this work is carried out.
Best New Zealand Poems continues to cross linguistic borders: our colleagues at Waiteata Press are this year following up their Italian/English bilingual print edition of Best New Zealand Poems 2015 with a bilingual English/Samoan edition of Best New Zealand Poems 2016.
This year’s editor is Selina Tusitala Marsh. Earlier editors were Jenny Bornholdt (2016), John Newton (2015), Vincent O'Sullivan (2014), Mark Williams and Jane Stafford (2013), Ian Wedde (2012), Bernadette Hall (2011), Chris Price (2010), Robyn Marsack (2009), James Brown (2008), Paula Green (2007), Anne Kennedy and Robert Sullivan (2006), Andrew Johnston (2005), Emma Neale (2004), Robin Dudding (2003), Elizabeth Smither (2002) and Iain Sharp (2001).
Bill Manhire is the founding editor, and was Series Editor from 2001-2010. With Damien Wilkins, he co-edited a print anthology, The Best of Best New Zealand Poems (Victoria University Press, 2011), which offers a condensed view of the first decade.
Best New Zealand Poems is published by the International Institute of Modern Letters and is supported by a grant from Creative New Zealand, whose assistance we greatly appreciate. We remain grateful to the late Ralph Hotere (1931-2013) for permission to use his drawing for the first edition of James K Baxter's Jerusalem Sonnets (Bibliography Room, University of Otago, 1970) on our opening page.
Chris Price is a past editor of Landfall, has worked in publishing, and was for many years coordinator of the New Zealand Festival's Writers and Readers Week. She is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Beside Herself (2016), and co-edited The Fuse Box: Essays on Writing from Victoria's International Institute of Modern Letters (Victoria University Press, 2017) with Emily Perkins, and the recent Aotearoa / New Zealand issue of Poetry magazine (with Stephanie Burt and Paul Millar).
Chris convenes the Poetry and Creative Non-fiction MA workshop at the International Institute of Modern Letters. She took over series editorship of Best New Zealand Poems from Bill Manhire in 2011.