Welcome to Summer

A patch of summer in my garden

A patch of summer in my garden

The ten poets in this 29th edition hail from New Zealand,  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

Richard Aronowitz

Richard Aronowitz

Richard Aronowitz was born in 1970 to an English father and a German-Jewish mother and grew up in rural Gloucestershire. He studied Modern Languages at Durham and Heidelberg universities and Art History at the Courtauld Institute in London. Formerly the Director and Senior Curator of the Ben Uri Gallery, the London Jewish Museum of Art, he now heads the Restitution Department at Sotheby’s.

Richard began his writing career as a poet, publishing poems in the Independent, the Guardian and many small-press magazines.He was a runner-up in the poetry section of the Bridport Prize in 1999 and had a selection of ten poems included in the anthology Anvil New Poets 3 from Anvil Press in 2001.

His first novel, Five Amber Beads, was published by Flambard Press in 2006. His second, It’s Just the Beating of My Heart, came out in March 2010 while he has recently completed the final draft of his new novel, An American Decade.


Frances Barnett

Frances Barnett

Frances Barnett lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. She enjoys writing poetry for school and herself and was published in the 2014 edition of REDRAFT, an annual secondary schools publication. Having finished high school this year, she will go on to further her education at the University of Otago in 2016.

pauline cartwright

Pauline Cartwright

 Pauline Cartwright – When I was 9 I dreamed of becoming a writer. For many years now I have made my living that way. Sometimes I have written for adults, sometimes for myself. Mostly I have written for children, everything from poems to picture books, from 8-page readers to full-length novels. Support has come from an early NZ Literature Grant, the Richards Literary Agency, from other writers, my family, and readers.

I would find it distressing not to be able to write and even more so not to be able to read. Because of books I know the truth of Margaret Mahy’s words: “Imagination transforms the world, it is a force for alteration and enlightenment.

Diana Goetsch

Diana Goetsch

Diana Goetsch  is the author of Nameless Boy, The Job of Being Everybody and several other volumes of poems. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, The American Scholar, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize and numerous other journals and anthologies. Among her honors are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Donald Murray Prize.

Diana is an experienced and innovative writing teacher who has taught at colleges, conferences and MFA programs, in addition to teaching privately—one-on-one, and group workshops in her New York City apartment. She is also the editor of Jane Street Press, a unique, zero-profit poetry press she founded in 2001.

Peter Olds

Peter Olds, on the left, beside the ‘Holes in a Sandstone Wall’

Peter Olds is a Dunedin poet. He has travelled widely in New Zealand, worked various odd jobs, and, as a young man, spent time with James K Baxter at Jerusalem on the Wanganui River. In 1978 he was the Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago.  Cold Hub Press recently issued his Selected Poems: YOU FIT THE DESCRIPTION, (with an introduction by Ian Wedde).


Vincent OSullivan

Vincent O’Sullivan

Vincent O’Sullivan is a poet, fiction writer, and editor. He has also written plays and criticism. O’Sullivan has received numerous distinguished awards, residencies and fellowships, and his writing has been widely published nationally and internationally. Collections of his short fiction followed a number of collections of verse, and O’Sullivan has written for radio, television, and the stage. In 2006, he was awarded the Prime Ministers Awards for Literary Achievement. He was named Poet Laureate in 2013.


Elizabeth Pulford

Liz Pulford

Elizabeth Pulford has published stories, poems, and articles for adults and children. Nearing to sixty books for children, from early readers through to Young Adults; and one adult’s novel. Many of her adult short stories won competitions, while three of her children’s books, The Memory Tree, (Scholastic); Call of the Cruins, (Scholastic); and Tussock (Walker Books) reached the finals of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.

Hilda Sheehan

Hilda Sheehan

Hilda Sheehan is a writer and arts events organiser based in Swindon. She was born in 1967 in High Wycombe and grew up in Leyland, Lancashire. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at the Open University. She has been a psychiatric nurse and Montessori teacher and is now co-editor Domestic Cherry magazine with Louise Crossley. Hilda works for Swindon Artswords (Literature Development), The Richard Jefferies Museum and the Swindon Festival of Poetry. Her poetry has been published inThe Rialto, Poetry Salzburg Review,  Tears in the Fence,The Interpreter’s House, ArtemisPoetry, The New Writer, South, BBC website, Commonhead, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Kim Moore’s Sunday Poem, Josephine Corcoran’s And Other Poems, Ariadne’s Thread, Incandescent, Fake Poems, Nutshells and Nuggets and Shearsman.

Joyce Sutphen

Joyce Sutphen

Joyce Sutphen grew up on a farm in Minnesota. She earned a PhD in Renaissance drama from the University of Minnesota, and has taught British literature and creative writing at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota. Her collections include Straight Out of View (1995) Coming Back to the Body (2000), Naming the Stars (2004),  and First Words (2010).She has received a McKnight Artist Fellowship and a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship and was named Minnesota’s Poet Laureate in 2011.

Richard von Sturmer

Richard von Sturmer

 Richard von Sturmer is a writer and lives in Auckland. With his wife, Amala Wrightson, he runs the Auckland Zen Centre, a Buddhist community.



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Arriving next week

Summer 15Our summer 2015 poetry card will be posted next week and landing in medical waiting rooms, hospices, rest homes and prisons. Check back here next week for bios of all our summer poets.

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Kisses in Store

DSC05637October 31 and it’s our national Bookshop Day. We headed down to the UBS and wandered around enjoying the atmosphere, a bustling shop, children listening to stories, people conversing, authors talking to families and the staff dishing out chocolate kissses for customers to give the authors.


Robyn Belton at the authors’ table.

We came away with Brian Turner’s latest book, Boundaries – people and places of Central Otago,  David Mitchell’s Slade House and Michel Houellebecq’s Submission. The wind has been wild up our way today so after a brief stint in the garden I surrendered and came indoors to read.


The UBS staff were all dressed up as characters from Alice in Wonderland. I overheard a small girl saying to a staff member, I love your hat, and watched another young lad as he dragged his mother to look at a book, just imagine if THAT was $5.00, he said, imagine! I moved away but I hope he found a book to spend his $5.00 on.


The Cheshire cat was busy on the phone so I only managed to catch a side on photo but the Mad Hatter stopped for a minute and gave me a grin.


Thanks UBS for all the work you went to, to make it a very special Bookshop Day for Dunedin readers.


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2016 Poems in the Waiting Room poetry competition

2016 Colour jpg (1)The Conditions of Entry look terrifyingly long but I hope they’ll cover any questions you may have regarding the competition. February may seem an age away but with a holiday break before then well-meant intentions to put fingers to pc may drift away. So why not start writing that winning poem now.

Conditions of Entry

Information on how to enter and prizes form part of these Conditions of Entry. By entering the “Poems in the Waiting Room 2016 Poetry Competition” (“the Competition”), entrants agree to be bound by these Conditions of Entry.

  • The Competition is open to New Zealand residents only.
  • The Competition commences on November 1 2015 and closes at 5pm on 29 February 2016.
  • The maximum length for each poem submitted is 25 lines (excluding title).
  • Each entry must be the original work of the person submitting it, and may not have been previously published, broadcast, awarded any prize or payment or submitted elsewhere until after the announcement of the results of the Competition.
  • Poems may be on any subject or theme. The poems must be easily accessible, and not make great demands. Poems with political, religious, medical or morbid overtones will not be successful.
  •  Poems may be either neatly hand-written or typed on A4 paper.
  •  All entries will be judged anonymously. The entrant’s name must not appear on the poem itself.
  • Each entry must be accompanied by – a sheet of paper detailing the title/s of the poem/s, the entrant’s name, address, contact number and email address.
  • 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. Entry fees will be used to assist with ongoing funding so we can maintain and, hopefully, expand our distribution area.
  • To enter the Competition, entrants must send two copies of each poem to Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ), 19 Hunt Street, Andersons Bay, Dunedin 9013.
  •  All entries must be received no later than 5pm on 29 February 2016 otherwise the entry will not be accepted. PitWR (NZ) takes no responsibility for lost, damaged, misdirected, late, illegible or incomplete entries. Entries submitted electronically will not be accepted.
  • Under no circumstances can alterations be made to poems once entered.
  • The judge’s decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Entrants must ensure that they keep a copy of their poem as poems cannot be returned and for administrative reasons entries cannot be acknowledged.
  • The copyright of each poem remains with the author.
  • The prize winners will be announced in April 2016 on PitWR (NZ)’s blog (waitingroompoems.wordpress.com) . Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted.
  • By accepting a prize, winners consent to PitWR (NZ) using his/her details and photographs for promotional and media publicity purposes.
  • Winning poems may not appear in any other publication or website until after their publication in the PitWR(NZ) winter edition.
  • The UBS Dunedin Prize will be awarded for the best unplaced poem from a poet resident in Dunedin.
  • All entries received will be considered for publication in PitWR (NZ)’s English and Braille seasonal editions.
  • PitWR (NZ) reserves the right to cancel or amend the Competition or these Conditions of Entry at any time without prior notice. Any changes will be posted on PitWR (NZ)’s blog (waitingroompoems.wordpress.com). In the event of the Competition being cancelled all entry fees will be refunded.
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October news

I know Lilliput Libraries has its very own blogsite but we’re so excited about the installation of our first Lilliput we’ve tumbled over here into the PitWR blog.


Dunedin’s first Lilliput Library at 21 Hunt Street

AND we have a new addition to our team.

Click the Behind the Scenes tab to read about Sheryl.


Sheryl, our latest PitWR trustee, is an artist. Here she is with her Lilliput masterpiece!

Our hedge wasn’t suitable for the installation for a Lilliput Library so our neighbours, Murray and Jan, offered to host it. Murray not only secured it to his fence but also created two steps so people won’t get wet or muddy feet while choosing a  book.  Sheryl lives a couple of doors up from Murray. This Hunt Street Lilliput has been a real community effort.


Murray preparing the steps before the arrival of his Lilliput Library.

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The Spring card has inspired another poem!


This Spring card has certainly been a hit! I’m in awe and totally chuffed by the responses.

Today I received a poem in the mail from the residents at Seaview Home in Picton.  It has absolutely delighted me. I’m going to forward a copy of the poem to the four poets who have been mentioned. Read and enjoy!

Thank you dear Graham, Kathleen, Ursula, Bill
for your poems, we’re glad you’re producing them still.
What  rhythm! what rhyming! what superb sense of timing
to send them on National Poetry Day!
And Daffodil Day for the Cancer Society.
What day could be found of more fitting propriety?
Yellow bird – gift of love, or grey for a  dove
A hundred and more names and objects of  love
By the plight of your cat, all our hearts have been smitten –
outclassed by the neighbour, poor undervalued kitten!
Your poems have cheered us, our wars are abating
As long as we sit in the waiting-room  waiting
we cannot do better, we could do  much worse
to express admiration than to thank you in verse.

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A poetic response to the Spring poetry card

A revelation this morning :

Monday morning
Rushing, discussing
Hair and toothbrushing
Lunch making, breathtaking
Locating  the keys
Relieving but reeling
Just before leaving
I get the feeling
There are words
I’ve been meaning to read

Your words
Still waiting, left on the shelf
A moment or two
For the sake of my health
A tale of a goldfish
A lovelorn cat
I laughed myself silly
Even though it was sad

Now I’ve remembered the power of words
Beautiful, clever , funny, absurd
Stopped me
At the door
Calmed me and charmed me
I can’t wait to see more

Stephen Trinder

I’ve had a number of positive comments from readers about the latest Spring poetry card but this is the first time I’ve received a poetic response! Thank you Stephen T.

When I checked with Stephen to see if I could reprint his poem he replied, of course I’d be honoured, …. in between leaving the house and getting to work this morning I had to stop quite a few times to scribble ideas down (the police might have otherwise stopped me for driving and rhyming). I have a pile of different Poems in the Waiting Room at work so I was also able to spread the message when a co-worker asked me how I was feeling. Many thanks to you and the project in general. Maybe as well as in the waiting room, poetry should be prescribed in the surgeries too.

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