Here comes Autumn

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This autumn card is our 30th edition of Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) so we’re chuffed with this quiet achievement. Our 2016 poetry competition closes today ( February 29) and all the poems will be bundled up and sent off to this year’s judge Pat White. We had a record number of entries so we’ll have to give Pat some time to work his way through all the poems and come to a decision. I’ll post the results here in due course.

Sit back and read about our 9 contributors to this 2016 autumn edition.


Barbara Strang

Barbara Strang

Barbara Strang was born in Invercargill. She lives near the Estuary, Christchurch, an area badly damaged in the quakes. She has had two books of poetry published; and haiku, children’s stories, fiction and other prose published and awarded here and overseas. She is looking for a publisher for her third collection, a book of haiku. She has acted as a judge in various competitions and is also an experienced editor, having produced two anthologies for the New Zealand Poetry Society, and other poetry collections. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University.


Ed Werstein

Ed Werstein

Ed Werstein, spent 22 years in manufacturing and union activity before his muse awoke and dragged herself out of bed. He advocates for peace and against corporate power. His poetry has appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Blue Collar Review, Stoneboat, Gyroscope Review, SteamTicket, and other publications. His chapbook, Who Are We Then? was published in 2013 by Partisan Press.

Gill Learner

Gill Learner

Gill Learner was born near Birmingham (UK) but now lives in Reading. She began writing after retirement from teaching Printing Studies at Berkshire School of Art & Design and her poems often reflect her continued interest in technologies old and new as well as her love of music and the visual arts. They also touch on her concern for what is happening in the world both politically and environmentally. Her work has been read on BBC radio & TV, translated into Romanian, widely published in journals (Acumen, Agenda, ARTEMISpoetry, Mslexia, Poetry News, The Interpreter’s House, The North and South) and in a range of anthologies. Gill has also won a several awards including the Poetry Society’s Hamish Canham Prize, the Buxton Poetry Competition 2011 & 2012, and the English Association’s Fellows’ Poetry Prize 2012.

She very much enjoys reading her poetry to an audience and can be heard regularly at Reading’s Poets’ Café. Her first collection, The Agister’s Experiment, was published in 2011 by Reading’s own Two Rivers Press and a second, Chill Factor, will appear from the same publisher in Spring 2016. Her web pages are at


J. Allyn Rosser

J Allyn Rosser

J Allyn Rosser’s fourth book, Mimi’s Trapeze, appeared in 2014 from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her previous collection of poems, Foiled Again, won the New Criterion Poetry Prize in 2007. Her first collection, Bright Moves, was selected by Charles Simic for the Morse Poetry Prize, and her second, Misery Prefigured, won the Crab Orchard Award and was published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2001.

She has received numerous awards for her work, among them the Peter I.B. Lavan Award for Younger Poets from the Academy of American Poets, a Pushcart Prize, the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize and the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ohio State Arts Council.  Her poems have appeared in such journals as Poetry, Paris Review, The Georgia Review, The Atlantic, The Smithsonian Magazine, Slate, and in four editions of Best American Poetry.  Rosser teaches at Ohio University, where she edits New Ohio Review.

John Parker

John Parker

Twenty-five years ago, after being at various times a teacher of piano, a postie, a truck driver, an opera singer in Europe, and a lecturer in English at the former Auckland College of Education, John Parker decided to chance his arm at writing.

Since then he has written over 130 titles for children, ranging from picture-books to teen novels to an award-winning 4-volume history of New Zealand in conjunction with the Frontier of Dreams TV series.

More than 70 of his poems, plays and stories have appeared in the New Zealand School Journal and Radio New Zealand, TVNZ and BBC School Radio have broadcast a number of his children’s and adult stories and radio plays.

Over 400 of his articles – especially on golf, tramping, skiing and travel – have been published in magazines and newspapers and he also writes and edits for businesses and educational organisations.

John has also made some 300 visits to schools all over New Zealand for the NZ Book Council.

John Parker lives beside a golf-course on Auckland’s North Shore, sharing the house with his wife, and occasional errant golf-balls.

Nick Williamson

Nick Williamson

Nick Williamson lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. His work has been published in numerous literary journals. His first book of poems, The Whole Forest, was published by Sudden Valley Press in 2001. Broken Light, a poem from that book was selected for Best Poems New Zealand in that year. In 2005 his poem, Learning a Language’, won the New Zealand Poetry Society’s International Poetry Competition.

Paula Harris_PIWR (1)_copy

Paula Harris

Paula Harris is a Palmerston North-based poet. She won the Whitireia Poetry Award in 1995 and has attended Victoria University’s Poetry Workshop and Iowa Poetry Workshop. Her work has been published in various journals and anthologies.

Along with writing, Paula is a Pilates instructor, massage therapist, Argentine tango dancer and a terrible gardener but a good cook.

Paula is currently working on a collection, titled “Love Poems for Pessimists”.


Sophia Frentz

Sophia Frentz is from Tauranga, completed a degree at the University of Otago in Dunedin, and then jumped across the ditch to Melbourne where she is currently working on a PhD in Genetics at the University of Melbourne. She enjoys poetry (particularly haiku) as she finds it’s a nice change from the thinking style required by her academic pursuits.

Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry

Poet, novelist, and environmentalist Wendell Berry lives on a farm in Port Royal, Kentucky near his birthplace, where he has maintained a farm for over 40 years. Mistrustful of technology, he holds deep reverence for the land and is a staunch defender of agrarian values. He is the author of over 40 books of poetry, fiction, and essays. His poetry celebrates the holiness of life and everyday miracles often taken for granted.


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