Our autumn 2015 poets

As I set off for work this morning at 7.00 am there was a slight feeling of autumn in the air. And this made me realise I’m going to have to give up my current walking to work activity – learning poems. Soon it will be too dark to see the bits of paper in my hand. I’ve been selecting my favourite poems from the poetry cards and happily reciting them  over and over as I stride along Portsmouth Drive and beyond.  So if you’re a Dunedinite and come across someone mumbling about Penguins (Fiona Farrell’s Penguins) or Window Cleaners ( Roy Marshall’s Dying Arts) this week it will be me!  So moving on…..

Allow me introduce you to the poets appearing in our autumn card.

John Alcock

John Alcock is a Birmingham born writer. He was a lecturer in Drama and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. He has a special interest in writing for performance, for which he won a Richard Burton Award. He is also a Housman Prize winner. He has published, broadcast and given readings in UK and USA. He lives near Stratford-upon-Avon.

Catherine Bateson
Catherine Bateson is an award-winning poet and writer for children and young adults. She has three collections of poetry published, the latest being Marriage for Beginners, John Leonard Press. She regularly blogs at http://www.cattybatty.blogspot.com and tries to post a Tuesday Poem each week.


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.

riemke-portraitphoto courtesy of James Ensing-Trussell  from the Poet Laureate’s website (National Library)

Riemke Ensing was born in Groningen, The Netherlands, in 1939. With her parents she immigrated to New Zealand at the age of twelve in 1951. At this stage of her life she spoke no English. She went to school first in Dargaville, then to Ardmore Teachers’ Training College, after which she taught for two years, returning to the College to lecture in English literature for a year. She again became a fulltime student and on graduating M.A.(Hons) in 1967, was appointed as a tutor in the English Department at the University of Auckland, where she taught till 1999. She has since been appointed an Honorary Research Fellow (Faculty of Arts) and in 2002 was a Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellow. Her poetry is represented extensively in anthologies and her work has appeared in many publications both in New Zealand and overseas.

Sophie Hannah

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012.

In 2004, Sophie won first prize in the Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story The Octopus Nest, which is now published in her first collection of short stories, The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets.

Sophie has also published five collections of poetry. Her fifth, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A-level and degree level across the UK. From 1997 to 1999 she was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge, and between 1999 and 2001 she was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. She lives with her husband and children in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College. She recently came up with a new challenge for the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous detective in The Monogram Murders, a ‘continuation novel.’


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.”  

Author Image Claire Orchard3
Claire Orchard was born in Wainuiomata, grew up in various Hutt Valley locations, and now lives in Wellington. Her poetry has been published in various journals including Sport, Landfall, JAAM, Penduline Press and Turbine.

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.


Jane Yeh
Jane Yeh was born in America and educated at Harvard University. She holds master’s degrees from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Manchester Metropolitan University. Her first collection of poems, Marabou (Carcanet, 2005), was shortlisted for the Whitbread, Forward, and Aldeburgh poetry prizes. Her latest collection, The Ninjas, was published by Carcanet in 2012. She was a judge for the 2013 National Poetry Competition, and has been named a 2014 Next Generation poet by the Poetry Book Society.

Her poems have appeared in The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday, The Nation, Poetry Review, and other journals, as well as in anthologies including The Best British Poetry 2012 and The Forward Book of Poetry 2013 and 2006. Currently Lecturer in Creative Writing at the Open University, she also teaches Arvon and Poetry School courses and writes on books, theatre, fashion, and sport for publications such as The Times Literary Supplement, Time Out, and The Village Voice. She lives in London.

Autumn2 2015

The autumn cards will be posted out in the next seven to ten days to medical centres, rest homes, hospices and prisons. Feedback is always appreciated.       Ruth

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1 Response to Our autumn 2015 poets

  1. susandiri says:

    great idea!

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