2017 Poetry Competition Results

Time to announce the winners

of the 2017


Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) poetry competition


The 2017 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, the art deptand Otago University Bookshop for providing monetary prizes and book vouchers for our 2017 competition.

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

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

The results with Jillian O’Sullivan’s comments below:

Otago University Press First Prize:  “Riding West” by Kath Beattie –  Dunedin

the art dept Second Prize:  “Aeroplaning” by Margaret Moores –  Auckland

Otago University Book Shop Third Prize:  “Threads” by Samantha Montgomerie –Dunedin

Otago University Bookshop Best unplaced Dunedin poem: “Tasman Sea” by Diane Brown – Dunedin.


Judge’s comments for PITWR Competition 2017

It was a pleasure and a privilege to spend these weeks with hundreds of poems. Each had something to offer – a way of looking at the world, a voice, a tone, and layers of imagery, evocative and playful. Family, childhood and memory featured highly. I looked for poems that stood out for their use of language (writing with vigorous and accurate nouns and verbs); for a sense of structure that matched the poem’s meaning; syntax and line break that appealed to the ear and extended meaning; and for poems that went beyond a record of time and place to offer another view of the world – to illuminate. I chose the poems I returned to each time with a sense of anticipation. Their imagery and voices remain in my thoughts.

Thank you to all the poets who entered. Your faith in language to convey meaning inspires. I find writing competitions valuable. They give writers a deadline and an opportunity for a poem to arise. Each new poem offers the chance to try out a new way of saying something, to come closer to discovering what it is you have to say. As American author Toni Morrison puts it, writers learn “each time they begin anew how to recognize a valuable idea and how to render the texture that accompanies, reveals or displays it to its best advantage.”

Riding West is the winning poem for the way it evokes imagination with verve. There’s a headlong rush of muscular verbs and nouns, the details portraying not only a child’s play but the lives and characters beyond the child – the father’s careful sharpening of the axe, the mother who desires bean stakes, and what this says about their world. When play ends, the children still ‘ride west’, taking their imagination with them.

I chose Aeroplaning for the way it moves, as if bringing a camera into focus, from the image of a grandfather’s jacket and flying helmet, to his carefully labelled photographs, to the immediacy of a young woman anxious on the burning sand.

Threads is a quiet poem that rewards time spent with it. There’s a ‘rhythmic loop and pull’ to a poem ‘stitched with care’. It creates music with internal rhymes and long vowel sounds that portray the long afternoons of memory.

Tasman Sea is the best unplaced Dunedin poem. A quiet, structured and thoughtful poem, it gives parallel ways of looking at the sea, through the narrator’s two sons.

There were many other poems that brought me pleasure, among them Tomorrow’s looking good, Ki te Maunga Matauranga, The Car Has a Broken Fan-belt, A Harbour, Rumplestiltskin on Defence, The written word, and Undo.

Thank you,

Jillian Sullivan


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Early April

If you’re wondering about the results of our 2017 poetry competition then check back here in early April. I’ve given Jillian Sullivan the month of March to work her way through the entries. Once she lets me know the results I’ll pass on the news to the winning poets and then broadcast their names here. The winning poems will appear in the winter edition of the Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) poetry card.


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Autumn is upon us


Our Autumn 2017 poets

Summer seemed to slip by us in the South so we’re hoping for an exceptionally mild, warm and windless autumn. A friend just rang me and said she enjoyed this “Mother ” edition. I was puzzled until I sat quietly and looked at the card as a whole and realised that yes there is a theme running throughout the card. I tend to be so busy securing the poems I want, and then making sure their placement is correct and everything is all ok for the printer I forget about the big picture. Now all 8050 cards are distributed, or they will be by tomorrow, I can sit back and enjoy the poems. I hope you do too – Ruth.


Aalix Roake is a poet and artist living in New Zealand. She writes primarily Japanese poetry forms and has been published world-wide in magazines and anthologies and has won numerous awards. The haiku published in this issue of PitWR won First Place in the HaikuWorld Shiki Kukai.


Barbara Crooker is the author of eight books of poetry, including Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017) and The Book of Kells (Cascade Books, 2019). Radiance, her first book, won the 2005 Word Press First Book Award and was finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Line Dance, her second book, won the 2009 Paterson Award for Excellence in Literature. Her writing has received a number of awards, including the 2004 WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the 2003 Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships. Her work appears in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including CommonWealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania and The Bedford Introduction to Literature.


Daniel Mark Epstein is a biographer, poet, and dramatist whose work has been widely published and performed. Born in Washington, D.C. in 1948, he was educated at Kenyon College. In the 1970s his poetry first appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Republic. His first volume of poems was published by Liveright in 1973. His plays appeared soon thereafter in regional theater and Off-Broadway, and in 1978 he received the Prix de Rome for his poetry and dramatic works.

In the 1980s he wrote his first biography, Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson, now in its fourth printing. His biography Nat King Cole was a 1999 New York Times Notable Book, reviewed on the cover of the NYT Book Review, and his biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay was a New York Public Library Honoree, “Books to Remember” for 2001. The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage, was named one of the Best Books of 2008 by both The Wall Street Journal and The Chicago Sun-Times.

His honors include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1974, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984, and an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2006.


Elena de Roo is an Auckland children’s writer and poet. In 2010 she was awarded the Todd New Writers’ bursary to write a collection of children’s poems. A number of these poems are included in A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children, edited by Paula Green. Elena’s other works include The Rain Train (illustrated by Brian Lovelock), the Ophelia Wild series (illustrated by Tracy Duncan) and The Name at the End of the Ladder – a junior fantasy novel.


Emilie Buchwald  is the cofounder of Milkweed Editions and founder of Gryphon Press. Buchwald earned a PhD from the University of Minnesota, from which she has also received an honorary degree. She is the author and editor of many books and anthologies, including Gildaen (Milkweed, 1993). She has received several awards, including the McKnight Distinguished Artist Award, the Kay Sexton Award, and the Ivan Sandroff Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle.


Emma Neale works in Dunedin as a freelance editor and runs creative writing workshops. She has published five novels and four volumes of poetry, as well as editing three anthologies. She has won a number of fellowships and awards, and the manuscript The Truth Garden won the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award 2011.


Freya Manfred is the author of eight books of poetry.  Her two most recent are Swimming With A Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle, which won the 2009 Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award, and Speak, Mother, 2015, both from Red Dragonfly Press.  A longtime Midwesterner who has also lived on both coasts, her poems have appeared in over 100 reviews and magazines and 45 anthologies. She’s a  recipient of a Harvard/Radcliffe Fellowship and an NEA Grant, among other awards.  Poet Robert Bly says, “What I like in her poems is that they are not floating around in the air or the intellect.  The body takes them in.  They are brave.The reader and the writer meet each other in the body.”Her first memoir, Frederick Manfred: A Daughter Remembers, was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award and an Iowa Historical Society Award. She lives north of Stillwater with her husband, screenwriter, Tom Pope, and their sons, award-winning visual artists Nicholas Bly Pope and Ethan Rowan Pope, have illustrated some of her poetry, and are the subjects of her second memoir, Raising Twins: A True Life Adventure, 2015 (Nodin Press).  www.freyamanfredwriter.com


Karen Peterson Butterworth’s poetry and prose have appeared in journals and anthologies in seven countries. She has published seven books as writer or editor: most recently (as co-editor with Nola Borrell) the taste of nashi:New Zealand Haiku . Karen now lives in Otaki and themes for her writing come to her while observing human behaviour or gazing at the sunlit leaves of trees she has planted and watched grow over a quarter century.


Linda Pastan  was raised in New York City but has lived for most of her life in Potomac, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. In her senior year at Radcliffe College, Pastan won the Mademoiselle poetry prize (Sylvia Plath was the runner-up). Immediately following graduation, however, she decided to give up writing poetry in order to concentrate on raising her family. After ten years at home, her husband urged her to return to poetry. Since the early 1970s, Pastan has produced quiet lyrics that focus on themes like marriage, parenting, and grief. She is interested in the anxieties that exist under the surface of everyday life. She lives in Potomac, Maryland.


 Pat Schneider was born in rural Missouri in 1934 and is the author of nine books of poetry. She received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts, and founded Amherst Writers & Artists, a non-profit corporation which sponsors outreach writing workshops and retreats for “traditionally silenced populations,” including low-income women and children.

Schneider’s collections of poetry include White River Junction (1987), Long Way Home (1993), Olive Street Transfer (1999), and The Patience of Ordinary Things (2003). Her work has appeared in many anthologies including Family Reunion (2003), There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays (1997), and Alphabestiary (1995).

Schneider’s poetry often explores racial and class-related issues in realistic scenarios. Don Junkins, while reviewing her book, Another River: New and Selected Poems, writes: “Pat Schneider’s poems cut through to the real world…She not only knows how to write, seemingly without effort, articulate and precise lies, she’s lean in language and abundant in content. Hers is a genuine voice expressed in informed craft, which to be really effective includes the management of tone, which itself depends entirely on the management of restraint.”

Schneider has taught at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Connecticut, Smith College and is an adjunct faculty member at the Graduate Theological Union and Pacific School of Religion. She resides in Amherst, Massachusetts with her husband.

dsc07420Autumn 2017

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Completing the To Do List

Get through Christmas Day tick

Survive the Boxing Day Salestick

Start working on entry for PitWR 2017 competition tickweb-version-coral

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Happy Holidays


Christmas Greetings


Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ)



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Summer 2016


Poems in the Waiting Room presents our Summer 2016 poetry card, full of superb writing. We have printed 7750 poetry cards for this, our 33rd, edition of Poems in the Waiting Room(NZ).  Look out for this Summer blue poetry card in your nearest medical waiting room, rest home or hospice. ENJOY.

Amanda Hunt

Amanda Hunt

Amanda Hunt is a poet and environmental scientist, living in Rotorua. Her work has appeared in anthologies of the New Zealand Poetry Society (NZPS), and been highly commended in several NZPS competitions.  She has also published work online and in newspapers.  In 2016 she was shortlisted for the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize, judged by internationally renowned poet Paul Muldoon, from over 250 entries.

Andre Surridge

Andre Surridge


André Surridge is a poet and playwright who lives in Hamilton. His work has been published and/or performed in Britain, the US, Canada, Croatia, Australia and NZ. His writing awards include the Shell Playwrights Award NZ 1984 and the Janice M. Bostok International Haiku Award 2012.


Charmaine Thomson

Charmaine Thomson has an MA in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University. Her first collection of poems, Licorice, was published in 2012. Her poems have appeared in the 4th Floor Literary Journal, A Fine Line, The Shot Glass Journal, The Blackmail Press and the Fib Review, Turbine and Sport.


Edna St.Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay was one of the most respected American poets of the 20th century. Millay was known for her riveting readings and feminist views. She penned Renascence, one of her most well known poems, and the book The Ballad of the Harp Weaver, for which she won a Pulitzer Prize in 1923. Most notably, it was this poem where she coined the popular phrase, “My candle burns at both ends.” Millay died in 1950 on her farm in Austerlitz, New York.


Eric Dodson

Eric Dodson is a Tauranga poet, his poetry and haiku have been published in literary magazines both in New Zealand and the USA.


Freya Manfred

Freya Manfred is the author of eight books of poetry.  Her two most recent are Swimming With A Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle, which won the 2009 Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award, and Speak, Mother, 2015, both from Red Dragonfly Press.  A longtime Midwesterner who has also lived on both coasts, her poems have appeared in over 100 reviews and magazines and 45 anthologies. She’s a  recipient of a Harvard/Radcliffe Fellowship and an NEA Grant, among other awards.  Poet Robert Bly says, “What I like in her poems is that they are not floating around in the air or the intellect.  The body takes them in.  They are brave.  The reader and the writer meet each other in the body.”  Her first memoir, Frederick Manfred: A Daughter Remembers, was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award and an Iowa Historical Society Award. She lives north of Stillwater with her husband, screenwriter, Tom Pope, and their sons, award-winning visual artists Nicholas Bly Pope and Ethan Rowan Pope, have illustrated some of her poetry, and are the subjects of her second memoir, Raising Twins: A True Life Adventure, 2015 (Nodin  Press).


Joe Mills

Joe Mills is a faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.He holds an endowed chair, the Susan Burress Wall Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities.  Joe has published six collections of poetry with Press 53, most recently Exit, pursued by a bear which consists of poems triggered by stage directions in Shakespeare. His book This Miraculous Turning was awarded the North Carolina Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for its exploration of race and family. With his wife, Danielle Tarmey, he researched and wrote two editions of A Guide to North Carolina’s Wineries, and he has written fiction, criticism, and non-fiction. More information about his work is available here .



Laura Foley

Laura Foley is the author of five poetry collections, including Joy Street, Syringa and Night Ringing. Her poem “Gratitude List” won the Common Good Books poetry contest and was read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. She won the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest, judged by Marge Piercy. A palliative care volunteer in hospitals, she lives with her partner Clara Gimenez and their three big dogs among the hills of Vermon.


Lois Parker Edstrom

Lois Parker Edstrom, a retired nurse, began writing poetry ten years ago. Her poems have appeared in literary journals and have been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. Her chapbook, What Brings Us To Water won the Poetica Publishing Chapbook Award, 2010, a second collection of ekphrastic poetry, What’s To Be Done With Beauty, was published by Creative Justice Press, 2012, and a full length collection, Night Beyond Black, was published by MoonPath Press, 2016. She received two Hackney National Literary Awards, Outrider Press Grand Prize, and the Westmoreland Award, among others. Her poetry has been adapted to dance and performed by the Bellingham Repertory Dance Company. She lives in the U.S., off the coast of Washington, on Whidbey Island, with her husband and resident deer, rabbits, owls, and herons. The beauty of the island and her love of art inspire much of her work.



Margaret Mahy

Margaret Mahy (1936–2012) is New Zealand’s most celebrated children’s writer. As the author of more than 120 titles – which have since been translated into 15 different languages – Mahy’s readership is vast. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a librarian for over 10 years. Mahy’s books ring with humour, fantasy, adventure, science, and the supernatural, aspects that the author skilfully balances with her interest in the narrative possibilities of the ordinary world. Awarded the Order of New Zealand in 1993, she also won many global prizes for children’s writers, including the Carnegie Medal and the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award.


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2017 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. And we welcome Dunedin’s theartdept.org to our sponsorship team.


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 2017 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 2016 and closes at 5pm on 28 February 2017.
  • 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 28 February 2017 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 2017 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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