Did you know, Did you know, Did you know

Did you know that our annual PoARTry exhibition is opening on Sunday at the Community Gallery in Dunedin? A Palette of Poetry is our biggest exhibition ever with 60 works for sale –  art, jewellery, postcards, sculptures and masks. All the works were created in response to poems which appealed to the artists.


Joanne Webber’s ‘Un rêve français’

To read more about the exhibition, poetry reading and artist events, hop over here

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Poemas en la Sala de Espera

second editionThis is the second edition of Poemas en la Sala de Espera (Poems in the Waiting Room) that Juan and his friends have produced. The cards are distributed to 50 waiting rooms in Bogotá, Colombia and the poems are all in Spanish, of course!

Juan asked for a selection of my poems and the team chose Motorcycle Ballerina which appears in this card. I’ve popped the English version below below!

Bailarina en motocicleta

Inclinándose en las curvas, meciéndose sobre
neumáticos, desviándose de
las orillas de grava.

Oscureciendo entre las sombras de los árboles
en las calles, esbozando los minutos,
protagonizando su propia función

Ella lo recoge en su clase
de ballet. Él, el pasajero de atrás,
piruetea hacia la noche.


Motorcycle Ballerina

Leaning into curves, balancing on
tyre rims, angling away from
gravelled edges.

Dusking through tree shadowed streets
mapping out the minutes, staging
her own performance,

she collects him from his ballet class.
He, the pillion passenger, pirouettes
into the night.

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A Palette of Poetry

October 5th is fast approaching – it’s the opening day of this year’s Poems in the Waiting Room PoARTry exhibition. If you’re in town call in either for the 2.00pm opening or some time during the exhibition fortnight. All the details are on the poster below or, hop over here.

palette poster blog

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Spring at Olveston

Spring at OlvestonI walked up to Olveston after work today to catch up with the staff, enjoy a wander around the grounds, a peek in the conservatory, and a chat with Jeremy.

basket in the conservatoryDaffodils in the conservatory

hyacinthsThe hyacinths looked waxlike but their perfume was sumptuous.

Spring in the conservatoryAnother conservatory view.

Margaret and Sarah Goldsmith work magic in the Olveston gardens. Wander up there sometime with your lunch, and a book. There are seats scattered throughout the gardens. It’s a very quick and accessible hideaway from the city.

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A city of light

When walking to work in winter all I saw was the dark side of the city! Now the mornings are lighter my walk is more interesting…….  See what I spied today.

New seating

Great seating in Vogel St


New Vogel seating

More great seating in Vogel St


Cycle stand in Vogel Street

Cycle stand in Vogel Street

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Rosalind Horsman 1952 – 2014

R and Remail

Rosalind and Ruth at St Clair last summer

Over the last year Rosalind and I have kept up our poetry conversations via email.  I’d open my mail in the morning and there would be a commentary about my latest poetry efforts or her opinion on a poem I’d discovered and shared with her. Several of Rosalind’s, have a read of this Ruth, led me to contact the poet and ask permission to reprint their poem in our cards. The Study by Kathleen Jamie, which is in our latest card, was a direct result of Rosalind’s findings!

Rosalind, supported by a wonderful group of friends, made a huge effort to visit the PoARTry@ Olveston exhibition a fortnight ago. Her email the next day was effusive, the garden was looking absolutely lovely, especially the part with the miniature daffodils and other tiny plants lit up by the morning sun.  I replied reminding her that her outing was to see the exhibition, oh that, wouldn’t have missed it for the world Ruth!

This morning, news arrived that Rosalind had died. I will miss her terribly. Poems in the Waiting Room has lost a wonderful trustee.

Rosalind’s poem Beach was selected and interpreted by Lesley Towart for our 2013 Bellamys at Five exhibition.


Print of small foot
on sand        tide
will wash away.

It’s counterpart
on the heart

I’ve reprinted Rosalind’s contribution to our Bellamys at Five exhibition blog below.

Rosalind's garden

I received a letter from Rosalind in 2009 congratulating me on PitWR. At that stage she was still living in Oamaru but we met up on one of her frequent Dunedin trips. This led to her offering to deliver the cards around Oamaru which led me to invite her to become a PitWR trustee. Since then Rosalind has moved to Dunedin but she still delivers our Oamaru cards if her trips coincide with our distribution dates. We  regularly meet for hot drinks, a good old chinwag, and a tasting of each other’s latest poetic efforts.

Introducing: Rosalind

I grew up in Dunedin and attended university here before travelling in Europe for 3 years. On my return I trained as a primary school teacher and taught for many years, mainly in North Otago.  In 1991 I set up the Music for Children Trust, and from then until 2006 I travelled round Otago teaching music in primary schools and pre-schools. I particularly enjoyed going to remote areas like the Maniototo or Omarama or Mt Cook, where I would spend a week at a time taking music with all the children in the school. In 2006 I had a change of direction and now concentrate on translating German, which has been a love of mine since studying it at high school and university. Although I moved back to Dunedin 3 years ago, I still have my house in Oamaru where I lived while teaching in North Otago. The house with its sea view is my favourite place to write, though like most people I carry a notebook everywhere and jot down ideas whenever they occur to me.


My father was a professor of English and passed on his love of poetry to us. I’m very grateful that I grew up in a household where poetry was highly valued; like so much else, I took it for granted at the time, only much later realising what a privilege this was. My favourite poets are too numerous to mention, but recently I’ve enjoyed reading poetry by Michael Swan, Bill Sewell and Ruth Dallas. I admire economy of words and am always trying to pare back my own writing to the barest essentials.

DSCN0540 And sunrise from the same window, although I’m not an early morning writer!

My 2 poems. The first is about meeting a friend after an interval of many years, and the way we seemed to pick up exactly where we had left off. The second is about an elderly Sri Lankan woman with Alzheimers who had been a dancer and a musician. Hearing music always elicited a response from her even when nothing else did: she would start beating time on the counterpane, or sometimes sit up on the edge of the bed with her hands swaying and dancing to the music.


We were listening to records
when you slipped out to the dairy.

You remember the calendar
on the kitchen door? While you
were gone, someone altered it.
I did not notice this, wandering
through strange, spine-tingling
landscapes of Schubert, Beethoven.
First days, then months and years
were soundlessly removed.

You returned, surprised
to notice the new date.
We turned over the record,
ready to hear the next movement.


You ride lightly on your mind now,
travel to far places beyond our reach;
yet at the first touch of music
instantly you are here with me,
and when hands and eyes dance
shrunken skin is graceful as a girl’s,
eyes are wells of light.

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PoARTry @ Olveston


This gorgeous 54 page book of poems, artwork created in response to the poems, and photographs from Olveston relating to the poems, is selling for $20.00 (plus $2.50 postage in NZ) with all profits going to Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ).  It has a soft cover with a spiral binding.  Helen Lehndorf  and Jenny Longstaff were my two  midwives – editing and designing the book for me!

If you wish to purchase a book please email me, Ruth, for details  -

waitingroompoems(at)gmail(dot)com. Please replace the (at) with @ and (dot) with .

Inside cover

Artwork by Janie Porter inside the front cover

Peter's vase and amphora

Peter Gregory’s vase and amphora created in response to Olveston afternoon.


Manu Berry and Annie Lambourne’s responses to the poem Olveston

Olveston whispers 1

Pauline Bellamy turned this poem, Olveston whispers, into a delightful small booklet.

Hut for Dot

Kevin Dunkley’s response to the poem Hut for Dorothy

Main St, Arrowtown.jpg

Anna Reid’s response to the poem, Main St Arrowtown

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