Ōrongohau | Best New Zealand Poems 2022

Edited and introduced by Louise Wallace

I began the year thinking: this won't be so hard; I know what I like. When the first packet of new collections arrived in March, I quickly reassessed. The poets were not going to make my job easy. Good for them, I thought, and also … bring it. In March, I read in evening snatches—my son's daycare closed due to Covid. I read on our deck in slices of winter Dunedin sun in June. I read on the floor of Auckland Airport between flights, Puffin Rock playing on my laptop for my son—poems while all the feet passed us by.

In August, my father died—I read poems for shelter, when I didn't feel like doing anything else. Why do I say this? Because poetry is personal—it's nothing but—just as my choices are here. Over Christmas, I read under Northland pōhutukawa, and in January, the last month of reading, I became equal parts poetry and coffee, working ferociously through to the end of the pile. Finally, my long list of poems entered an elimination round, and there were some difficult decisions to make. I tried to think of a visitor to our poetry shore—what could I include to show its terrain? Read the full introduction >