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 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 ( . 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 ( In the event of the Competition being cancelled all entry fees will be refunded.
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AND it’s finished

Sheryl and I finished our first StepSisters project today. Sheryl is responsible for all the artwork while I organise, provide encouragement, chat to passersby and read stories to Sheryl – hence our logo!  We’re looking forward to our next Poems on Steps project once all the permissions and consents come through.

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With some finishing touches to be added over the coming week, Sheryl McCammon and Ruth Arnison (aka the Stepsisters) are chuffed to present our first project in the series, Poems on Steps (POSTs), in Dunedin.

The transformation of the Moray Place steps to the Filleul St car park.

Thanks to: Resene for supplying all our paint needs, Taskforce Green for cleaning the steps and repainting the handrail, Tracey Paul and Peter Christos for helping us through the paperwork and especially Andre Surridge for the loan of his poem(tanka).

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Our Spring poets

Spring 2016

Poems in the Waiting Room welcomes Spring with a Daffodil yellow poetry card full of superb writing. We have printed 7750 poetry cards for this, our 32nd, edition of Poems in the Waiting Room(NZ). That’s a fair amount of poems floating around the country. Look out for this Spring 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.


Andrea Potos

Andrea Potos

Andrea Potos is the author of six poetry collections, including An Ink Like Early Twilight (Salmon Poetry, Ireland), We Lit the Lamps Ourselves(Salmon Poetry, Ireland), Yaya’s Cloth (Iris Press), Abundance to Share With the Birds (Finishing Line Press), and New Girl (Anchor & Plume Press).  Her poems appear widely in print and online.  She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, in America and works as an independent bookseller.


Catherine Bullock

Catherine Bullock has been writing haiku since 1999, and her work has been published in a number of journals and anthologies, in New Zealand and overseas. She has also been placed or commended in competitions. Her haiku and senryu often have a humorous twist. She lives in Waihi.

Donna Hilbert

Donna Hilbert

Donna Hilbert’s latest book is The Congress of Luminous Bodies, from Aortic Books.The Green Season, World Parade Books, a collection of poetry and prose, is available in an expanded second edition. The work about the death of her husband appears in Transforming Matter, and in Traveler in Paradise: New and Selected Poems, from PEARL Editions. Her work is widely anthologized, including Boomer Girls, A New Geography of Poets, Solace in So Many Words, most recently in The Widows’ Handbook, Kent State University Press and The Doll Collection, Terrapin Books. She lives in Long Beach, California. More at

Dorianne Laux

Dorianne Laux

Dorianne Laux is the author of several collections of poetry, including Facts about the Moon and The Book of Men, from W.W. Norton. She teaches poetry in the MFA program at North Carolina State University and is founding faculty for Pacific University’s Low Residency MFA Program.


Joyce Sutphen

Joyce Sutphen

Joyce Sutphen grew up on a farm in Minnesota. She earned a PhD in Renaissance drama from the University of Minnesota, and has taught British literature and creative writing at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota. Her collections include Straight Out of View (1995) Coming Back to the Body (2000), Naming the Stars (2004),  and First Words (2010).She has received a McKnight Artist Fellowship and a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship and was named Minnesota’s Poet Laureate in 2011.

Ron Koertge

Ron Koertge

Ron Koertge is the author of many books of poetry and many novel for teenagers.  His latest book of poems is Vampire Planet (Red Hen Press).  His latest novel-in-verse for Young Adults is Coaltown Jesus (Candlewick Press).  His website is Photo credit to Alexis Rhone Francher.


Ron Wallace

Ron Wallace

Ron Wallace is the author of 16 books of poetry, fiction, and criticism, including, most recently, FOR DEAR LIFE (poetry, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) and YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS (Parallel Press, 2015). He is Felix Pollak Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he founded, and for 43 years directed, the Program in Creative Writing before retiring in January 2016. He is founder and currently editor of the University of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series (Brittingham and Pollak prizes). Married, with two daughters and four grandchildren, he divides his time between Madison and a 40-acre farm in Bear Valley, Wisconsin.  He hopes to visit New Zealand soon, to hike the Milford Track….again.

Sheila Natusch

Sheila Natusch

Sheila Natusch is a New Zealand historian and natural science writer who has authored more than 30 books, including Animals of New ZealandLetters From JeanThe Cruise of the Acheron,Hell and High Water: a German Occupation of the Chatham IslandsNative PlantsOn the Edge of the Bush: Women in Early Southland, and Wellington with Sheila Natusch.

Steve Clarkson

Steven Clarkson lives with his family in Taupo and practises law there as a Barrister. He shares most of his work with the world in an online work book.  His haiku appear in print, in online anthologies and in competitions internationally and locally.

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Spring is drawing closer!

Spring 2016d

I collected 7750 Spring poetry cards from the printer last week  and now I’m starting the enveloping and addressing process. Spring will be arriving at the beginning of September . Look out for the daffodil yellow card at your local medical centre, hospice or rest home.

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Winter’s on the way

winter 3 2016.JPG

In this winter NZ poets’ edition we’re featuring the winning poems from our 2016 poetry competition. Frankie McMillan’s My mother and great aunt laughing like trees, Gill Ward’s What I forgot to steal, Jillian Sullivan’s June and Sarah Manning’s Barefoot walking. There is also a haiku, a poem for children and more…….

The winter cards will be posted or hand delivered to medical centres, rest homes, hospices and prisons this week. Look out for them – they’d love to be read!

Introducing our winter poets

Felicity Cutten


Felicity Cutten was born in Australia but has lived in Canterbury for over thirty years. She is a published science writer and illustrator and a member of the South Island Writers Association.

Mrs Cherry Hill


Cherry Hill is a retired teacher of Chinese and Japanese languages. She is a partner on a sheep and deer farm on the edge of Lake Ellesmere/TeWaihora.

Jan Hutchison


Jan Hutchison lives in Christchurch and has published three collections of poetry, the latest being – The Happiness of Rain.  She is published in Australia, England, and New Zealand.

Greg Judkins


Greg Judkins has been practising as a GP in a low socio-economic suburb of South Auckland for a very long time.  For most of that time he has also been involved in post graduate medical education for GPs.  He has one wife, three children and six grandchildren, is a keen cyclist, and enjoys dabbling in a little creative writing in the form of poetry and short fiction.

Sarah Manning


Sarah Manning – writes from her house overlooking Dunedin harbour and she draws on nature for her inspiration.

Frankie McMillan


Frankie McMillan is a New Zealand short story writer and poet. She is the author of ‘The Bag Lady’s Picnic and other stories’ ( Shoal Bay Press)  and two poetry collections: ‘Dressing for the Cannibals’ and ‘There are no horses in heaven’. (Canterbury University Press). In 2005 she was awarded the Creative New Todd Bursary. In 2008 and 2009 her work was selected for Best NZ Fiction anthologies. In 2013 and 2015 her poems were selected for Best New Zealand Poems (online, Victoria University).  In 2014 she held the Ursula Bethell writing residency at Canterbury University. Other awards include winner of the New Zealand Poetry Society International Poetry Competition in 2009 and winner of the New Zealand Flash Fiction Competition in 2013 and 2015. Her latest book, ‘My Mother and the Hungarians and other small fictions’ (Canterbury University Press) will be launched in August, 2016.  Frankie currently teaches at the Hagley Writers’ Institute in Christchurch.

Jillian Sullivan


Jillian Sullivan grew up in the Wairarapa, and now lives in Central Otago, NZ. She is published in a wide variety of genres and teaches writing in NZ, and in America each year for the Highlights Foundation.  Her awards include the Highlights Fiction Award in America for short stories, the Tom Fitzgibbon Award, and the Kathleen Grattan Prize for poetry. A mother of five and grandmother of eight, she recently spent six months full time building her strawbale house in the Ida Valley. Her forthcoming book, a memoir of building the house, and a new life down south, is due out with Potton and Burton, Spring 2016.


Brian Turner


Brian Turner – see


Gill Ward


Gill Ward lives on the Kapiti Coast. Her poetry, scripts and short stories have appeared in anthologies, magazines, literary publications and on National Radio.  Now retired from teaching, Gill writes an online poetry column for the Kapiti Independent News and leads a U3A course on contemporary New Zealand Poetry. For the last seven years she has organised the Kapiti poetry café monthly event ‘Poets to the People.’ Her collection Poetic explanations (Kupu Press) was published in 2011.She won second prize in the 2013 Takahe Short Story Competition and was one of three joint prize winners in the 2013 Print Reality poetry competition, highly commended in 2015 Flash Fiction awards.

If you’ve enjoyed reading the Poems in the Waiting Room cards please consider making a donation here. All money goes towards our printing and postage costs.  Thank you -Ruth.




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