2018 Poetry Competition Results

Time to announce the winners

of the 2018 Poems in the Waiting Room Poetry Competitionkitchen clock

The 2018 competition winners have all been notified, 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,  Otago University Bookshop  and Creative Writing Dunedin for providing monetary prizes for our 2018 competition.

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

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 throughout New Zealand.

Regards,  Ruth Arnison

The results with Lynley Edmeade’s comments are below:

Otago University Press First Prize

“Turn on the light; the dark is getting in my eyes” by Margaret Ranger –  Wellington.

Otago University Book Shop Second Prize

“Talking Books” by Margaret Moores –  Auckland.

Creative Writing Dunedin Third Prize

“To Dog” by Kerri Sullivan–Waikuku Beach.

Highly recommended

“Recovery: St Clair,” by Hayley Rata Hayes, Dunedin.

“The Girl Wishes for a Handlebar Moustache,” by Gail Ingram, Christchurch

“Field Manual,” by Mary Cresswell, Paraparaumu.


Poems in the Waiting Room Poetry Competition 2018

It was a pleasure to judge the Poems in the Waiting Room poetry competition for 2018. The range of poems that were received was incredibly vast and diverse, and made for surprises at each turn, both in terms of the subject matter and style.

The poems that really stood out for me, did so because they all offered fresh ways of seeing the world. There didn’t seem to be any particular style that I was favouring, but all the winners and highly commended pieces that I chose had some kind of peculiar way of showing me something. The writers of these poems also exhibited technical finesse, and this allowed me relax into the subject matter.

Some notes on the winners:

First place: “Turn on the light; the dark is getting in my eyes”

This poem had me, first of all, with the title. It alone really captures something of the childlike inversion that can happen in language (not just with language, but in language). The poem itself tells a little story, and manages the narrative very well; but it also offers a way of seeing that is at once fresh, interesting and playful.

Second place: “Talking Books”

This poem didn’t grab me at first, but was a slow burner. It carries a big weight with it, and so rewards subsequent readings. It is about loss and the pain of loss, but it is also about discovery and the joy of reading. It’s also very well crafted; just enough concrete detail to carry the bigger themes, and managed beautifully.

Third place: “To Dog”

I loved this poem, again for the title’s layer of inversion. It is immediately unexpected, and really reinvigorates the language that is being used. I loved the meditation on the conversation with a canine friend, and the gentle insertion of dialogue. It is whimsical and surprising, and will make many readers smile.

I also selected three highly commended poems: “Recovery: St Clair,” “The Girl Wishes for a Handlebar Moustache,” and “Field Manual.”  These three poems all had something great to offer, whether that was a turn of phrase, craftsmanship, or original imagery.

In general, I was really impressed with the caliber of entries in this competition, and would encourage all entrants to carry on writing, practicing and refining their craft.

Lynley Edmeades

March 2018

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Our 2018 Competition Sponsors

Whilst the 2018 PitWR competition poems are with Judge Lynley Edmeades I’d like to acknowledge our sponsors.

Otago University Press

University Bookshop (Otago)

Creative Writing Dunedin

Without their support our competition would have had a much smaller prize pool. The University Bookshop has been a sponsor since 2013 and the Otago University Press came on board in 2015.  Heartfelt thanks to you both. We were very pleased to have Diane Brown’s Creative Writing Dunedin join the sponsorship team this year. Cheers Diane.

This is the first year we haven’t had a special category for Dunedin poets. Because our poetry cards are now distributed nationwide we decided that we should remove any hint of parochialism!

The next PitWR poetry card will be our winter edition featuring the three prize winning poems alongside a selection of other NZ poets.

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Autumn 2018

Welcome to Autumn 2018


 Billy Collins, Barbara Crooker, Rosalind Brackenbury, Barbara Strang, Sandra Simpson, Angie Trudell Vasquez, Sarah Russell, Sophie Hannah and Jane Buxton all have poems appearing in our yellow autumn card.

The cards will be appearing in medical waiting rooms, hospices, prisons and rest homes throughout New Zealand this week. If they’re not stocked by your Doctor ask them to contact me and I’ll happily add them to our database.

Happy regards – Ruth

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2018 Poetry Competition

Please read the competition entry conditions carefully before posting your poems.

Several entries have not been accompanied by the correct entry fee, have asked for a receipt and have had the poet’s name typed on the poem.

For full entry conditions check out Poetry Competition 2018 on the blog header, second from the right.

  • The entrant’s name must not appear on the poem itself.
  • The entry fee is $5.00 for each poem.
  • Entrants must ensure that they keep a copy of their poem as poems cannot be returned and for administrative reasons entries cannot be acknowledged.

Summer 17

Get your entries in now.

Closing date for our 2018 competition is February 28. 

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Summer reading with PitWR

DSC02652Check out our Summer 2017 poetry card in a medical waiting room near you. They’re  available in hospices, prisons and rest homes as well. Mercy Hospital and the SDHB also have copies for reading and leaving or taking home to keep. If you haven’t seen any poetry cards at your medical centre, let me know and I can make contact and see if they  would like to stock them, they’re free.

Introducing the poets featured in our summer card

Annie Lighthart1

Annie Lighthart started writing after her first visit to an Oregon old-growth forest. Since those first strange days, she earned an MFA in Poetry and published her poetry collection, Iron String.  Her poetry has been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac and chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye to be placed in Ireland’s Galway University Hospitals as part of their Poems for Patience project.  Annie loves being a traveling teacher and has taught writing workshops at Boston College, as a poet in the schools, and with many community groups, working with writers from ages 6 to 89.  She lives in a small green corner of Portland, Oregon.


Anya Silver

Anya Krugovoy Silver is a poet living in Macon, Georgia.   She is the author of four books of poetry, The Ninety-Third Name of God (2010), I Watched You Disappear (2014), From Nothing (2016), and Second Bloom, (2017). She currently teaches in the English Department at Mercer University.  She shares her life with her husband, son, and cockapoo.


Mrs Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill is a retired teacher of Chinese and Japanese languages. She is a partner on a sheep and deer farm on the edge of Lake Ellesmere/TeWaihora.


Connie Wanek

Connie Wanek has written four books of poems, most recently Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems, published in 2016 by the University of Nebraska Press.  She’s also the author of a book of prose called Summer Cars.  She lived for over 25 years in Duluth, MN, which is on the shore of Lake Superior.  Her website is www.conniewanek.com.


Paul HostovskyPaul Hostovsky’s poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best of the Net.  He has nine full-length collections of poetry. He makes his living in Boston as a sign language interpreter at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

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


robert k johnson

Robert K Johnson – Born in New York City (in Elmhurst), I lived in several different places there but have memories only of The Bronx (off Fordham Road). Then my family moved out “on The Island”—to Lynbrook, where we stayed till I graduated from Hofstra (then a College). Several years after my wife, Pat, and I married, we, plus our two children, settled in the Boston area and have remained there (except for my daughter, Kate, who has lived in Manhattan for quite a while). I have been writing poetry since I was twelve (many moons ago).

ron moss

Ron C. Moss is an artist and poet from Tasmania, a place of wilderness that inspires his work. Ron is recognized as an outstanding illustrator and designer of many poetry books, and his haiku and achievements in related genres have been widely published and honoured with many awards.

“I consider myself a student of the Zen arts,” Ron writes, “which have fascinated me from an early age. I enjoy the distilled conciseness of haiku, the exploration of art and mixed media, and sometimes I like to combine the two, as in the ancient tradition of haiga. I try to bring a sense of  contemplation into my work. Moments of stillness are important in our very busy lives, and my path is to practice the way of art and haiku poetry.


Samantha Montgomerie

Samantha Montgomerie is a writer and teacher.  Several of her poems have been included in the New Zealand Poetry Society Anthology, and a number  have also been published in newspapers.  The latest edition of Landfall features Samantha’s poem, Kate Sheppard reads the Weekly. She lives on the Otago Peninsula.  Samantha won Third place in the 2017 PitWR competition with her poem Threads.


Steve Klepetar lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including three in 2016. Recent collections include Family Reunion, A Landscape in Hell, and How Fascism Comes to America.

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Our 2018 Poetry Competition

The PitWR trustees would like to thank  Otago University Press and Otago University Bookshop for their long-term support of our annual poetry competition. We welcome Diane Brown’s Creative Writing Dunedin to our sponsorship team.


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 2018 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 2017 and closes at 5pm on 28 February 2018.
  • 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 each poem. 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 our distribution area.
  • To enter the Competition, entrants should send one copy 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 28 February 2018 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 2018 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.
  • 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.


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.

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Love Waltz with Fireworks-our CHAIRity auction

SOLD, Sold, Sold. That was the lovely sound ringing out from Mandy Mayhem-Bullock, our auctioneer, on Sunday afternoon, October 15.

I had planned to take photos but my plans and reality didn’t coincide. ( Thanks to Philip and Lee for sharing their photos) The eftpos machine was revving, bidders were competing and chairs were disappearing out the door. There was plenty of friendly banter, rivalry and applause. Sincere thanks to the poets, the artists, the team at Resene Colorshop, Gillions Funeral Services and everyone who attended on Sunday afternoon – we are rapt with the result for Poems in the Waiting Room.

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