Our 2017 CHAIRity FUNdraiser

We purchased 40 odd wooden chairs  which we gave to local artists along with 9 poems and the brief, use the chairs as a canvas to respond to one of the poems. Each artist was allowed to choose 5 free Resene testpots and we said, see you in Spring.


Now the chairs have all been delivered to the Resene colorshop in Dunedin and we’re having a CHAIRity fundraising auction – Love Waltz with Fireworks – at Resene, 172 Crawford St, Dunedin on October 15 at 2pm.

Pop over here for further pictures and full details.


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Welcome to Spring

This Spring edition is already on the way to 639 medical waiting rooms, 457 rest homes, 8 prisons, 5 hospices and all the SDHB waiting areas. Sincere thanks to: André Surridge, my regular ‘go to’ poet for haiku, Kelli Russell Agodon for allowing me to use her poem, Love waltz with fireworks as the title for our 2017 PitWR fundraiser, and to all our Spring poets for generously loaning me their poems.

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.

Andy Seed

Andy Seed is an author and poet, living in North Yorkshire. He writes memoirs, funny poems and humorous non-fiction books as well as all sorts of things for teachers.

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.  Read more about Connie here.

Judy Carroll

Judith Waller Carroll is the author of The Consolation of Roses, winner of the 2015 Astounding Beauty Ruffian Press Poetry Prize, and Walking in Early September (Finishing Line Press, 2012).  Her work appears in the journals Gyroscope Review, Persimmon Tree, and  Mom Egg Review, the anthologies Home (Outrider Press, 2016), River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-first Century (Blue Light Press, 2015), and  Joys of the Table (Richer Resources Publications, 2015), among others, and has been nominated for Best of the Net. She lives in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas with her husband, the novelist Jerry Jay Carroll.

Kelli Agodon 2

Kelli Russell Agodon is a poet, writer, and editor. She is the author of six books, most recently, Hourglass Museum The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice, as well as the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press where she works as an editor and book cover designer. Her work has appeared in magazines such as The Atlantic and O, The Oprah Magazine. She lives in a sleepy seaside town where when not writing, she’s an avid paddleboarder, mountain biker, and hiker. Read more about Kelli here 

Michael Estabrook

Michael Estabrook is retired. No more useless meetings under florescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms, able instead to focus on making better poems when he’s not, of course, endeavoring to satisfy his wife’s legendary Honey-Do List. His latest collection of poems is Bouncy House, edited by Larry Fagin (Green Zone Editions, 2016).

michael o'leary

Michael O’Leary is a poet, novelist, publisher, performer and bookshop proprietor who has been a magnetic figure for many other contemporary New Zealand writers. He writes in both English and Māori; and his diverse and prolific work in poetry, fiction and non-fiction explores his dual heritage: Māori on his maternal side and Irish Catholic on his father’s as well as his mother’s. Born in Auckland in the year of the Tiger 1950, he was educated at the universities of Auckland, Otago (Dunedin), and Victoria University (Wellington). His Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop imprint (inspired by Andy Warhol’s ‘Factory’, the Beatles’ Apple label, and John and Yoko’s ‘Plastic Ono Band’), which he founded in 1984, has published some of his own prolific output, as well as many other New Zealand writers. Michael O’Leary is a trustee for the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa (PANZA), a charitable trust dedicated to archiving, collecting and promoting New Zealand poetry. He now lives in Paekakariki, north of Wellington.

Sarah Russell

 Sarah Russell says: When I was growing up I enjoyed writing poetry, singing and acting, but when I embraced the feminist movement during the 70’s and 80’s, I took on more left-brain pursuits – a Masters and Ph.D. while raising three kids, college teaching, writing and editing academic prose – rather than ventures in the arts. I kept those right-brain temptations at bay until a lovely man I met and married encouraged me to make dolls and now to write poetry.

During the school year, I live in State College, Pennsylvania where my husband teaches at Penn State. We spend our summers in Colorado to be near children and grandchildren.


ENJOY this Spring card and have a look here for details of our 2017 fundraiser.

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Never too old


Marjorie smilingIMG_0721I received this lovely poem from Marjorie Latimer who is still writing poetry at 91!

Just a stick


My age is such

My walking stick is noted

More than me

I’m holding it

A prop on wobbly days

But the comments come

For it is coloured

With flowery pinks and mauves

Which make it noticed

Not because it flips apart

And folds

But that it is younger than me

And better looking!



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Winter 2017 – our 35th poetry card.


Our winter card always features NZ poets and the prizewinners in our annual poetry competition.   We’ve sent 8500 winter cards out into the world so look out for this burgundy poetry card in your nearest medical waiting room, rest home or hospice. ENJOY.

Andrew Paul Wood is a writer, poet, critic, art historian, educator, curator and translator based in Christchurch. He completed a PhD in aspects of postmodern New Zealand painting at the University of Canterbury. His books include Quietus: Observations on an Altered City (2012), a psychogeography of post-earthquake Christchurch with photographer Doc Ross, and three translations (with Friedrich Voit) of the poetry of Karl Wolfskehl, Under New Stars: Poems of the New Zealand Exile (2012), To The Germans (2013), and Three Worlds / Drei Welten. Selected Poems (2015).


Diane Brown is a novelist, memoirist, and poet who runs her own creative writing school, Creative Writing Dunedin. Her publications include two collections of poetry – Before The Divorce We Go To Disneyland (1997) – winner of the NZSA Best First Book of Poetry at the Montana Book Awards 1997 – and Learning to Lie Together (2004); two novels, If The Tongue Fits (1999) and Eight Stages of Grace (2002) – a verse novel which was a finalist in the Montana Book Awards 2003; a travel memoir, Liars and Lovers (2004) and a prose/poetic work, Here Comes Another Vital Moment (2006).

Her latest book, Taking My Mother To The Opera, Otago University Press (2015) is an extended poetic family memoir, in part about post World War Two domestic life and the ageing of parents.



Jenny Powell is a poet, performance poet and creative writing tutor. Her poetry has been published in a wide range of literary magazines. Her collections include Sweet Banana Wax Peppers (1998), Hats (2000) and Ticket Home(2012). As an artist interested in collaborative work, she has published Double Jointed (2003) with ten poets of her choice, and Locating the Madonna (2004) with poet Anna Jackson. Her plays The Montecillo Child and Alive In Berlin were produced by Talking House. The Case of the Missing Body is Powell’s account of discovering purposeful physical movement, and the subsequent relationship between body and mind (Otago University Press, 2016).


Kath Beattie says, Writing has been a way of life from the beginning. We had no money for books, so we wrote our own. Since then I’ve had several adult and children’s short stories, children’s chapter books, two books in the Scholastic ‘My Story’ series, early childhood readers, articles, travel pieces and poems published and/or broadcast. I’ve also self-published a book on Loss and Grief.  Kath’s poem, Riding West, won First Prize in this years PitWR competition.

Margaret Moores

Margaret Moores was a bookseller for many years but now works as a publisher’s sales representative. She lives in Auckland and has recently completed a Master of Creative Writing at Massey University. Her poems and short fiction have been published in journals and anthologies in New Zealand and Australia. Margaret’s poem, Aeroplaning, won Second Place in the 2017 PitWR competition.

Rob Hack

Rob Hack has lived in Paekakariki  since 2005, after a third attempt to live across the ditch. He has been an insurance salesman, greenkeeper , builder, personal trainer, gym owner, factory hand, gardener, shop assistant etc and currently works as a handyman, to buy second-hand poetry books, and petrol so he can visit his grandchildren each week.

He’s performed his poems in Kapiti and Wellington for 15 years and hosts a poetry show on Paekakariki FM radio called Not at the Table: poetry and stuff.

I first came across Rob’s writing when browsing the bookshelves at the University Book Shop and discovered Everything is Here. It’s published by Escalator Press and I can thoroughly recommend it – go buy it now.

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.  She is awaiting the publication of two children’s early readers in July.  She lives on the Otago Peninsula.  Threads by Samantha won Third place in the PitWR competition this year.

Stella Carruthers

Stella Carruthers is a writer and textile artist, a lifelong Wellingtonian and ardent tea drinker. She is interested in exploring personal narratives and appreciating the little beautiful moments in everyday life. She seeks to live according to eco-conscious and New Domestic values. She is currently studying library and information studies and has a BA in Art History from Victoria University of Wellington.


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The forecast for winter

My favourite colour is burgundy – I have shoes, jackets, scarves and even a touch of burgundy in my hair. So a winter treat to myself and our readers – a burgundy coloured poetry card! Look for it in your local medical centre, hospice or rest homes from June onwards.

Right now I’m busy unpacking 8000 poetry cards, addressing and enveloping them all. And then Barry takes over the sealing of the envelopes – fantastic teamwork.

DSC07692This poetry card has the winning poems from our 2017 competition – it’s a great read.



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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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