National Poetry Day – August 24

Poems in the Waiting Room is thrilled to be celebrating our National Poetry Day with the support of the Southern DHB.  Patients at Dunedin, Wakari, Southland and Lakes District Hospitals will be treated to poetry, supplied by  Poems in the Waiting Room, on their lunchtime meal trays for them to enjoy.IMG_0117

The poems have been chosen to suit all tastes with adult poems on one side of the sheet and a poem for younger patients on the other side.


Sincere thanks to Liz Pulford, Andre Surridge, Karen Peterson Butterworth, Catherine Bullock and Fiona Farrell for the loan of their poems, haiku and tanka. Thanks also to the generosity of  the amazing team at Southern DHB – the artwork and printing are fabulous.

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Hello Spring, we’re 40

IMG_0021.JPGOur Spring poetry cards will be in the mail next week.

This is the 40th edition of Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ)


We’ve made the font larger in this edition so our rest home residents may find it easier to read. All feedback welcome.  Our Spring poets are Kay McKenzie Cooke, Sue Wootton,  Tony Mitton, Lynley Edmeades, Robert Louis Stevenson, David Budbill, D E Green, Phil Wood, Eric Dodson, and Diana Hendry.

Happy Reading


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Look what’s around the corner

With autumn nearly over and winter fast on its tail our new winter edition will be in the post next week. It’s our annual NZ poets’ edition plus it has the winning poems from our annual competition.


Just around the corner, our winter 2018 edition

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Braille poetry booklets

We’ve been providing our seasonal poetry cards in a braille booklet format for the last seven years. This would not have been possible without assistance from various funding sources. The next four braille editions are possible due to the financial assistance of the Bendigo Valley Sports & Charity Foundation. Sincere thanks for helping us to continue providing this service for our sight impaired readers.  The winter braille edition of Poems in the Waiting Room is being transcribed by the Blind Foundation and will be available for reading from June 1.

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2018 Poetry Competition Results

Time to announce the winners

of the 2018 Poems in the Waiting Room Poetry Competitionkitchen clock

The 2018 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,  Otago University Bookshop  and Creative Writing Dunedin for providing monetary prizes for our 2018 competition.

The winning poems will appear in the winter edition of the Poems in the Waiting Room poetry card. I intend spending some time over Easter going through all the submissions and selecting any which might be suitable for a future PitWR edition. I’ll be in touch with those poets in due course.

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 throughout New Zealand.

Regards,  Ruth Arnison

The results with Lynley Edmeade’s comments are below:

Otago University Press First Prize

“Turn on the light; the dark is getting in my eyes” by Margaret Ranger –  Wellington.

Otago University Book Shop Second Prize

“Talking Books” by Margaret Moores –  Auckland.

Creative Writing Dunedin Third Prize

“To Dog” by Kerri Sullivan–Waikuku Beach.

Highly recommended

“Recovery: St Clair,” by Hayley Rata Hayes, Dunedin.

“The Girl Wishes for a Handlebar Moustache,” by Gail Ingram, Christchurch

“Field Manual,” by Mary Cresswell, Paraparaumu.


Poems in the Waiting Room Poetry Competition 2018

It was a pleasure to judge the Poems in the Waiting Room poetry competition for 2018. The range of poems that were received was incredibly vast and diverse, and made for surprises at each turn, both in terms of the subject matter and style.

The poems that really stood out for me, did so because they all offered fresh ways of seeing the world. There didn’t seem to be any particular style that I was favouring, but all the winners and highly commended pieces that I chose had some kind of peculiar way of showing me something. The writers of these poems also exhibited technical finesse, and this allowed me relax into the subject matter.

Some notes on the winners:

First place: “Turn on the light; the dark is getting in my eyes”

This poem had me, first of all, with the title. It alone really captures something of the childlike inversion that can happen in language (not just with language, but in language). The poem itself tells a little story, and manages the narrative very well; but it also offers a way of seeing that is at once fresh, interesting and playful.

Second place: “Talking Books”

This poem didn’t grab me at first, but was a slow burner. It carries a big weight with it, and so rewards subsequent readings. It is about loss and the pain of loss, but it is also about discovery and the joy of reading. It’s also very well crafted; just enough concrete detail to carry the bigger themes, and managed beautifully.

Third place: “To Dog”

I loved this poem, again for the title’s layer of inversion. It is immediately unexpected, and really reinvigorates the language that is being used. I loved the meditation on the conversation with a canine friend, and the gentle insertion of dialogue. It is whimsical and surprising, and will make many readers smile.

I also selected three highly commended poems: “Recovery: St Clair,” “The Girl Wishes for a Handlebar Moustache,” and “Field Manual.”  These three poems all had something great to offer, whether that was a turn of phrase, craftsmanship, or original imagery.

In general, I was really impressed with the caliber of entries in this competition, and would encourage all entrants to carry on writing, practicing and refining their craft.

Lynley Edmeades

March 2018

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Our 2018 Competition Sponsors

Whilst the 2018 PitWR competition poems are with Judge Lynley Edmeades I’d like to acknowledge our sponsors.

Otago University Press

University Bookshop (Otago)

Creative Writing Dunedin

Without their support our competition would have had a much smaller prize pool. The University Bookshop has been a sponsor since 2013 and the Otago University Press came on board in 2015.  Heartfelt thanks to you both. We were very pleased to have Diane Brown’s Creative Writing Dunedin join the sponsorship team this year. Cheers Diane.

This is the first year we haven’t had a special category for Dunedin poets. Because our poetry cards are now distributed nationwide we decided that we should remove any hint of parochialism!

The next PitWR poetry card will be our winter edition featuring the three prize winning poems alongside a selection of other NZ poets.

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Autumn 2018

Welcome to Autumn 2018


 Billy Collins, Barbara Crooker, Rosalind Brackenbury, Barbara Strang, Sandra Simpson, Angie Trudell Vasquez, Sarah Russell, Sophie Hannah and Jane Buxton all have poems appearing in our yellow autumn card.

The cards will be appearing in medical waiting rooms, hospices, prisons and rest homes throughout New Zealand this week. If they’re not stocked by your Doctor ask them to contact me and I’ll happily add them to our database.

Happy regards – Ruth

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