A new letterbox

Letterbox 25

We came across this latest addition to my letter box collection as we set out for a stunning autumnal walk this morning.

DSC04900Ferns sheltering fungi

DSC04903A flick flickering fantail followed us down, up, around, and along the track. We felt as though we were in a scene from Fly My Pretties, The Story! A very squeaky, engaging, chattery piwakawaka who must have been delighted by all the insects we were disturbing as we leaf scuffed our way up to Scott’s Memorial.

Port C spiresA jigsaw puzzle blue sky – Port Chalmers.

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Bookshops, competitions and festivals


Yesterday Liz Pulford, on the left, called in to the University Bookshop to collect her book voucher.  Liz won the UBS best unplaced Dunedin poem in our 2015 competition. I hadn’t met Liz before so I arranged to call in at the same time, snap a photo of Liz receiving the voucher, and then tarry for a chat. We spent a very pleasant 30 minutes getting to know each other in the warmth of UBS and we’re planning to catch up again soon.

I get to meet so many interesting people through this PitWR project. I consider myself extremely lucky.

On my way back to the car I spied a warmly dressed chap pasting posters advertising the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival. So I whipped out my camera and with his “ok” snapped his brush strokes for you!


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2015 Competition Results

Time to announce the winners

of  the

2015 Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) poetry competition

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Carolyn McCurdie has read over 350 poems, and then read them again and again, keeping in mind her own criteria plus a few words of requirement from me!  She had no idea whose work she was looking at as I removed all sign of ownership on the poems that slipped into the competition complete with names! Any letters, drawings and photos were also kept in my care so she was totally in the dark re age, sex, occupation, and experience of the poets. Carolyn has done a fantastic job.

The winners have all been notified, their prizes are in the post, and I’ve emailed everyone, who provided me with an email address, to let them know the results are out. Many thanks to: Otago University Press, Paul Bernard of L J Hooker Ltd, and Otago University Bookshop for providing monetary prizes and book vouchers for our 2015 competition.

The winning poems will appear in the winter edition of the Poems in the Waiting Room poetry card. I intend spending the weekend going through all submissions and selecting any which might be suitable for a future PitWR edition. I’ll be in touch with those poets early next week.

And now the results:

Otago University Press First Prize:  ‘The Indigo Parade”   by Leslie McKay from Lewis Pass.

Paul Bernard from L J Hooker  Second Prize:  ” Watermelon wine” by Kath Beattie from Dunedin.

Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) Third Prize:  “The Girl Who Sings Islands” by Catherine Fitchett from  Christchurch.

Otago University Bookshop Best unplaced Dunedin poet: ” The  Visit”  by  Elizabeth Pulford.

Many thanks to everyone who entered the competition. Your support will help Poems in the Waiting Room continue to provide free seasonal poetry cards to medical waiting rooms, rest homes, prisons and hospices.

Regards,  Ruth

Judge’s Report

These poems were good company. The poets spoke of love and family, of the natural world and of the wisdoms that impact on their lives. Some contributions arose from experiences in the Canterbury earthquakes. I found these brave and moving.

There was much here that showed originality, sometimes just in the choice of a word, or an arresting phrase, and sometimes in the whole conception of the poem. In these cases I felt that the poet had made an important start in their development as a writer. There was the promise here that if the poet learned craftsmanship, learned to re-work and re-work, to delete the pedestrian and to follow only what sings, some wonderful poetry could be the result.

Because work is essential. Writing a good poem is not easily done, and an excellent poem even more difficult. Behind the art, the craft of an effective piece is years of work, practice, and some kind of apprenticeship to the great poets of the world, past and present, by reading their work over and over. Poetry must be heard, felt, loved. It must be read so often and widely that the music of it gets into your breathing and then, if you have developed your ear, might enter into words of your own. It’s a magic, mysterious process. And exciting. To anyone beginning, I would say, well done and welcome. Keep reading. Keep writing.

And of course, many of these poets demonstrated that they know this at least as well, if not better, than I do. The sifting, selecting, and then reading and re-reading my favourites was an intense pleasure. Then I had a pile of nine. At that point it became difficult because all were good poems and then I just had to accept that my own personal preferences had to rule. The subjectivity is just how it has to work. As every judge’s report I have ever read points out, a different judge would have different preferences. So these are the poems that fill me with delight and admiration.

Thank you for the privilege

Carolyn McCurdie

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Autumn edition in braille

Whenever I send a new season’s poems to the printer I also send them to Amanda who is the Accessible Formats Producer at the Blind Foundation. Amanda organises the transcribing of the poems into braille and then their transformation into a booklet.

Autumn 2015 brailleSincere thanks to the For Everyone Charitable Foundation who have sponsored the braille booklets for the last twelve months. I’ve applied to another organisation for funding for future braille booklets – I’ll let you know here as soon as I hear, if the response is positive.


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The Last Post


The Last Post arrived yesterday and my mailbox was overflowing! I’ll be meeting up with Carolyn McCurdie during the week and handing all the competition poems over to her. She has a lot of wonderful reading ahead of her.

Cheers to Dargaville Intermediate School – four students sent entries into the competition! There were so many entries from young people this year I think we should have a separate category for them next year.

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Street art

We came across this classy letterbox while out walking today



and then further on we found this fellow having a swing in the shade.

DSC04751One of the joys of working part-time  – I get to meander through quiet streets and suburbs, hike in the bush, and paddle in the sea, on week days when most people are at work.

I think the Hunt St postie is also counting down to Saturday, the last day we’re accepting competition entries. As February 28 draws closer his mail bag looks heavier every day.

The autumn poetry cards should be in all the South Island and lower North Island medical waiting rooms by now, except for Dunedin. I’ve still got a few to hand deliver around Dunedin which I’ll complete on Friday.

If you’re interested to find out more about the poets in this autumn card then look at the post Our Autumn 2015 poets where you can read all about them.

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Lilliput Libraries

A little free library in Melbourne

A little free library in Melbourne


After work on Wednesday I set off on a ‘begging trip’ around the local hardware stores. I was hoping to get offcuts or maybe, just maybe, convince one store to supply me with free materials so we could get the first Lilliput Library out into a neighbourhood.

First stop was Bunnings Warehouse.

I spoke to Katie who is the coordinator for community projects and when I showed her my Lilliput plans her face lit up and she called the manager to come and have a look! Ooops, I thought, they’re going to laugh me out of the shop. The manager looked at my plans and photos and gave me a huge grin and said, “What are you wanting Ruth?” So I thought aim high Ruth and I asked if he would supply me with free materials to make 1 Lilliput Library. His immediate response was, “No, we can’t supply materials for one but we can supply materials for ten and we’ll make them for you as well.”   I didn’t throw myself into his arms or burst into tears, I was very restrained although I was totally totally overwhelmed.  They both thought it was a great community project and were extremely happy to support it. I’m meeting up with Katie next week to work out the building schedule. Staff members will be building them on Saturdays at Bunnings’ DIY workshops. Once I know the dates I’ll let you know. Please support Bunnings  – they are making the most amazing contribution to the Poems in the Waiting Room Lilliput Project!

Image result for bunnings

Lilliput Libraries – take one now, return one later.

I’m hoping some of our Guardians will be happy to paint/ decorate their Lilliput Libraries during some of the Saturday sessions at Bunnings. I’ll keep you up to date with progress and the locations of these free neighbourhood libraries.

If any Dunedin people would like to donate books to get these libraries off to a flying start please contact me  – waitingroompoems (at) gmail (dot) com.  Please replace the (at) with  @ and (dot) with .    Many thanks, Ruth.

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