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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Autumn is upon us


Our Autumn 2017 poets

Summer seemed to slip by us in the South so we’re hoping for an exceptionally mild, warm and windless autumn. A friend just rang me and said she enjoyed this “Mother ” edition. I was puzzled until I sat quietly and looked at the card as a whole and realised that yes there is a theme running throughout the card. I tend to be so busy securing the poems I want, and then making sure their placement is correct and everything is all ok for the printer I forget about the big picture. Now all 8050 cards are distributed, or they will be by tomorrow, I can sit back and enjoy the poems. I hope you do too – Ruth.


Aalix Roake is a poet and artist living in New Zealand. She writes primarily Japanese poetry forms and has been published world-wide in magazines and anthologies and has won numerous awards. The haiku published in this issue of PitWR won First Place in the HaikuWorld Shiki Kukai.


Barbara Crooker is the author of eight books of poetry, including Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017) and The Book of Kells (Cascade Books, 2019). Radiance, her first book, won the 2005 Word Press First Book Award and was finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Line Dance, her second book, won the 2009 Paterson Award for Excellence in Literature. Her writing has received a number of awards, including the 2004 WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the 2003 Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships. Her work appears in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including CommonWealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania and The Bedford Introduction to Literature.


Daniel Mark Epstein is a biographer, poet, and dramatist whose work has been widely published and performed. Born in Washington, D.C. in 1948, he was educated at Kenyon College. In the 1970s his poetry first appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Republic. His first volume of poems was published by Liveright in 1973. His plays appeared soon thereafter in regional theater and Off-Broadway, and in 1978 he received the Prix de Rome for his poetry and dramatic works.

In the 1980s he wrote his first biography, Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson, now in its fourth printing. His biography Nat King Cole was a 1999 New York Times Notable Book, reviewed on the cover of the NYT Book Review, and his biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay was a New York Public Library Honoree, “Books to Remember” for 2001. The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage, was named one of the Best Books of 2008 by both The Wall Street Journal and The Chicago Sun-Times.

His honors include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1974, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984, and an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2006.


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.


Emilie Buchwald  is the cofounder of Milkweed Editions and founder of Gryphon Press. Buchwald earned a PhD from the University of Minnesota, from which she has also received an honorary degree. She is the author and editor of many books and anthologies, including Gildaen (Milkweed, 1993). She has received several awards, including the McKnight Distinguished Artist Award, the Kay Sexton Award, and the Ivan Sandroff Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle.


Emma Neale works in Dunedin as a freelance editor and runs creative writing workshops. She has published five novels and four volumes of poetry, as well as editing three anthologies. She has won a number of fellowships and awards, and the manuscript The Truth Garden won the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award 2011.


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).


Karen Peterson Butterworth’s poetry and prose have appeared in journals and anthologies in seven countries. She has published seven books as writer or editor: most recently (as co-editor with Nola Borrell) the taste of nashi:New Zealand Haiku . Karen now lives in Otaki and themes for her writing come to her while observing human behaviour or gazing at the sunlit leaves of trees she has planted and watched grow over a quarter century.


Linda Pastan  was raised in New York City but has lived for most of her life in Potomac, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. In her senior year at Radcliffe College, Pastan won the Mademoiselle poetry prize (Sylvia Plath was the runner-up). Immediately following graduation, however, she decided to give up writing poetry in order to concentrate on raising her family. After ten years at home, her husband urged her to return to poetry. Since the early 1970s, Pastan has produced quiet lyrics that focus on themes like marriage, parenting, and grief. She is interested in the anxieties that exist under the surface of everyday life. She lives in Potomac, Maryland.


 Pat Schneider was born in rural Missouri in 1934 and is the author of nine books of poetry. She received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts, and founded Amherst Writers & Artists, a non-profit corporation which sponsors outreach writing workshops and retreats for “traditionally silenced populations,” including low-income women and children.

Schneider’s collections of poetry include White River Junction (1987), Long Way Home (1993), Olive Street Transfer (1999), and The Patience of Ordinary Things (2003). Her work has appeared in many anthologies including Family Reunion (2003), There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays (1997), and Alphabestiary (1995).

Schneider’s poetry often explores racial and class-related issues in realistic scenarios. Don Junkins, while reviewing her book, Another River: New and Selected Poems, writes: “Pat Schneider’s poems cut through to the real world…She not only knows how to write, seemingly without effort, articulate and precise lies, she’s lean in language and abundant in content. Hers is a genuine voice expressed in informed craft, which to be really effective includes the management of tone, which itself depends entirely on the management of restraint.”

Schneider has taught at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Connecticut, Smith College and is an adjunct faculty member at the Graduate Theological Union and Pacific School of Religion. She resides in Amherst, Massachusetts with her husband.

dsc07420Autumn 2017

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Completing the To Do List

Get through Christmas Day tick

Survive the Boxing Day Salestick

Start working on entry for PitWR 2017 competition tickweb-version-coral

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Happy Holidays


Christmas Greetings


Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ)



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