Celebrating 10 editions of PitWR (NZ)


Words and ideas seem to flow freely during my morning shower times, pity the water pressure can’t match them! This morning I mulled over two turn down letters I received this week in response to requests for funding. And immediately the old word association game came into play.

During my OE back in 82-84 I spent three months at Great Fosters, a former Tudor hunting lodge in Surrey, Egham. And no I wasn’t a guest at this stately hotel, just a lowly chambermaid! One of my evening duties was ‘turn down’ which involved going into guests’ rooms, straightening the towels, drawing the curtains and ‘turning down’ the bedding.

After a funding ‘turn down’ I immediately start planning for my next application, tidying and polishing my words. After an evening ‘turn down’ at Great Fosters I was back making beds, tidying, and polishing the following morning.

A sure aging indicator – flicking back to the past!

The freshness of the 6am air, when I greet the morning and the newspaper at our letterbox, is a reminder that summer has gone. But two of my roses, Caroline Bay and Trumpeter are refusing to acknowledge the changing season. These much treasured and prized gifts, from the lovely people at the Timaru Festival of Roses, are both flowering in profusion.

And while I’m distributing thanks, bouquets to the Lion Foundation for sponsoring another edition of PitWR and to all the poets for their immense generosity in donating their poems.

So here comes autumn. Look out for the dove grey poetry card appearing in a medical waiting room or rest home near you in the next few weeks. This is our 10th edition and we’re celebrating with the following New Zealand poets.

Ross Agnew is a South Otago farmer, musician, songwriter and bush poet. He writes songs and poems based on humorous incidents and events in his life or from stories other people have told him.

Tony Chad is a poet and musician living in Whiteman’s Valley, Upper Hutt, where he endeavours to find the best balance of paid employment, the arts and a subsistence lifestyle. He particularly enjoys Guinness and strawberries – but not together.

Gary McCormack is a well-known radio presenter and commentator, television star, corporate speaker, comic, and published poet. What is less well known is that he was a gardener, surfboard manufacturer and merry-go-round operator!

Rosalind Horsman lived in Oamaru and taught in North Otago for many years. She has recently moved to Dunedin where she works as a translator of German.

Claire Beynon is an artist and writer based in Dunedin. She exhibits her work nationally and internationally and has won awards for her visual art as well as for her poetry and short stories. Antarctica has her under its spell; she visited the continent in 2005 and 2008 and hopes to return there later this year. Claire would like to provide a home for a bantam and a duck, but until that becomes possible is content to name and feed the native birds that visit her garden.

Janet Frame was made a CBE in 1983 for services to literature, awarded an honorary doctorate of literature from Otago University in 1978, and one from Waikato University in 1992. In 1990 she was made a Member of the Order of New Zealand.

Frankie McMillan is a short story writer and poet. Her first poetry collection, Dressing for the Cannibals, was launched in 2010 as part of the Christchurch City Libraries’ 150th anniversary. She was the 2009 winner of the New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competition.

Diana Noonan lives with her artist-writer husband in the Catlins, south of Balclutha. She’s had many children’s picture books and stories published, poems also, and several teenage novels. For a decade she was a School Journal editor for Learning Media in Wellington.

Michael Harlow was born in the United States but arrived in New Zealand in 1968. In the 1980s, he was an editor of the Caxton Press poetry series and poetry editor of Landfall. A practising Jungian psychotherapist, Michael was awarded the 1986 Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship and was the 2009 Burns Fellow at the University of Otago.

I hope you enjoy the autumn selection. Send me an email/ write me a note! It’s great to be able to refer to feedback in my sponsorship application packages.



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