Great news


My application to Creative New Zealand for assistance with funding the poetry cards has been successful! This means we have another year of poetry cards and at least one braille booklet. I’m sure we’ll manage to find sponsors so we can produce four braille booklets next year. Thank you Creative New Zealand.

Special thanks to Colin, Fiona and Bruce for your letters  of support which accompanied the application and to every one who wrote/emailed during the past year congratulating us on our project. Every letter and email does make a difference. It boosts our enthusiasm levels and makes us more determined to hunt for funding so the project can continue and expand.

This season we’ve quietly added Mid Central North Island to our database. Cards have been sent to medical practices and rest homes in  Palmerston North, Feilding, Dannevirke, Pahiatua, Otaki, Levin and Foxton.

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Summer 2014 braille edition


Summer 14 braille

Sincere thanks to the FOR EVERY ONE Charitable Foundation. Their sponsorship has covered the cost of transcribing and printing the Winter, Spring, Summer 2014 and Autumn 2015 editions of our braille poetry booklets.


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Summer 2014 – our 25th edition


The ten poets in this 25th edition hail from New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the USA. Without the support of poets from all over the world and the financial contributions from our sponsors we wouldn’t have reached this grand number. Sincere thanks to you all.

I’ll hope you’ll enjoy reading and rereading the poems in this summer card.

Introducing our summer poets

Billy Collins  is an American poet, appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003 and selected as the New York State Poet for 2004-2006.  Billy has described himself as “reader conscious”: “I have one reader in mind, someone who is in the room with me, and who I’m talking to, and I want to make sure I don’t talk too fast, or too glibly. Usually I try to create a hospitable tone at the beginning of a poem. Stepping from the title to the first lines is like stepping into a canoe. A lot of things can go wrong.”

Carolyn McCurdie is a Dunedin writer and the judge of this year’s Poems in the Waiting Room poetry competition. Her poems have been published widely in journals and on-line. She was the winner of the NZ Poetry Society’s International Competition 2013 and has previously won the Poems-in-Waiting-Rooms Best unplaced Dunedin poem, in 2012. Her short fiction won the Lilian Ida Smith Award in 1998 and a collection of short stories “Albatross” was published in e-book form by Rosa Mira Books in 2014. A children’s novel, “The Unquiet” was published by Longacre Press in 2006.

Diana Hendry

Diana Hendry grew up by the sea and has worked as a journalist, English teacher and tutor in Creative Writing at the University of Bristol. Her poetry has won a number of awards including first prize in the 1996 Housman Society Competition. She was Writer in Residence at Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary 1997-1998 and she was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Edinburgh 2008-2010. She lives in Edinburgh. She has published six collections of poetry.

Harry Ricketts 2011

Harry Ricketts  teaches English literature and creative writing at Victoria University of Wellington. His twenty-five books include literary biographies, personal essays and nine collections of poems. His most recent collection is Just Then (VUP, 2012). He was the featured poet in recent issues of Poetry New Zealand and Takahe.

James Carter

James Carter is one of the most high-profile children’s poets in the UK today. A prize/award winning poet, his many books include Journey To The Centre Of My Brain (Macmillan), Orange Silver Sausage (Walker Books) and I’m A Little Alien! and Hey, Little Bug! (both Francis Lincoln). James travels all over the UK (with his guitar, Keith) to give lively poetry performances and workshops. Over the last fifteen years, James has also written six widely used and critically-acclaimed creative writing books for teachers . Find him, read him, hear him here

Linda Connell on road to Queenstown

Linda Connell has published two books of poetry, ‘Laughing With the Undertaker’ and ‘Guarding the Cellar Door’. After years spent dividing her time between Florida and New Zealand, she settled with her husband permanently in Christchurch in good time for the earthquakes. Her life is filled these days with a passion for gardening, reading, coffeeing, and caring part-time for her toddler granddaughter.

Pat White reading at Four Poets

Pat White is a poet and essayist who lives in Fairlie. His first collection of poetry, Signposts, was published in 1977, and he has since published a range of collections that draw on his experience living in different places around New Zealand. Pat was the 2010 Writer in Residence at the historic Randell Cottage in Wellington. Read more about Pat here

Paul Muldoon is an Irish poet and professor of poetry, as well as an editor, critic, and translator. After studying at Queen’s University, Belfast, where Seamus Heaney was a tutor and where he met other Belfast Group poets such as Michael Longley, he published his first book, New Weather (Faber) in 1973, at the age of 21. From 1973 he worked as a producer for the BBC in Belfast until, in the mid-1980’s, he gave up his job to become a freelance writer and moved to the United States with his second wife, the American novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz. He now lives in New York City.

Peter Bakowski  is a Melbourne poet, and the author of five collections of poetry. He is constantly on the road, presenting his work at readings and in workshops. Read an interesting interview with Peter here

Roy Marshall
Roy Marshall was born in 1966. He has had numerous jobs including delivery driver, gardener and coronary care nurse. His first pamphlet of poems, Gopagilla, was published in 2012, and a full collection, The Sun Bathers, is published by Shoestring Press. Roy lives in Leicestershire, UK.


Twenty five editions of Poems in the Waiting Room poetry cards.

To celebrate our 25th edition we’re moving northwards again. 37 GP practices and 29 Rest Homes in the Mid Central area of the North Island have been sent copies of the summer edition. So now we supply 420 GP practices, 261 Rest Homes, 8 prisons, and 4 hospices. We are another step closer to our long-term aim of distributing the cards throughout New Zealand.

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Competition poems

Poems are arrowing into my letterbox from all over New Zealand. Today I received an entry from my youngest ever poet – she is just 6!


Bud, by Phillipa Wilson, was made in collaboration with Hone Tuwhare. This sculpture is on the University of Otago campus.

Just a short chat tonight as I don’t want to take you away from writing your competition poems and, I’m about to head out to hear the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra! I heard them talking on Radio NZ National last weekend. They sound like a lot of fun as well as sounding fantastic musically.

I emailed the summer card, a stunning lime green, to the printers last week.  It’s a bumper summer edition with poems from Roy Marshall, Diana Hendry, James Carter, Paul Muldoon, Pat White, Peter Bakowski, Carolyn McCurdie, Linda Connell, Harry Ricketts, and Billy Collins.

Look for it in a medical centre near you during the first week of December. Thanks to the Bendigo Valley Sports and Charity Foundation for sponsoring this card.


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2015 poetry competition

Announcing the

 Poems in the Waiting Room(NZ)

2015  Poetry Competition


If you’d like to click on the Poetry Competition tab above, then select Poetry Competition 2015, you’ll be able to read through all the entry conditions or, check them out below and then……….  start writing!

Carolyn McCurdie, our 2015 judge, is a Dunedin writer. Her poems have been published widely in journals and on-line. She was the winner of the NZ Poetry Society’s International Competition 2013 and has previously won the Poems-in-Waiting-Rooms ‘Dscene’ prize in 2012. Her short fiction won the Lilian Ida Smith Award in 1998 and a collection of short stories “Albatross” was published in e-book form by Rosa Mira Books in 2014. A children’s novel, “The Unquiet” was published by Longacre Press in 2006.

Information for Entrants

The competition opens 1st November and closes on 28th February 2015.

Thanks to our sponsors

Otago University Press First Prize –  $175.

Paul Bernard from LJ H0oker Second Prize –  $150.

Poems in the Waiting Room Third prize – $125.

 UBS Dunedin unplaced Dunedin poet prize – $75.00 book voucher.

The competition is open to all New Zealand residents.  Poems must be the original work of the entrant, previously unpublished, and not submitted elsewhere. Poems must be no more than 25 lines in length.

Poems may be on any subject or theme. We’re not looking for poems about medical issues/scenarios. We’re more likely to choose poems which are upbeat, aren’t  complicated and leave the reader feeling happier about themselves and the world. Our aim, with every card, is to select poems which will take readers away from the sometimes quite stressful or anxious wait they may be experiencing.

Entries may be neatly hand-written or typed. All entries will be judged anonymously. Please don’t write your name on the entry but attach a sheet of paper detailing the title/s of the poem/s, your name, address, contact phone number and email address. Please post two copies of each poem to Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ), 19 Hunt Street, Andersons Bay, Dunedin 9013.

Entry fee:  The entry fee is $5.00 for one poem or $10.00 for up to three poems from one entrant. Payment may be made to any branch of the BNZ to the credit of Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) a/c no. 02-0912-0102691-00, giving your name as the payer reference; or by cheque made out to ‘Poems in the Waiting Room NZ’, or in cash.

The prizewinners will be announced in April 2015 on PitWR(NZ)’s blog (  All winning entries will appear in the winter edition of Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ). All entries received will be considered for publication in future seasonal editions.

Thanks to Otago University Press, Paul Bernard from LJ Hooker, and UBS Dunedin,  for their support of this competition.


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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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