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Poetry Soiree

21 August 2020


Free event

Eventbrite - Bat Tour

Join us after hours at the Museum on National Poetry Day.

Come to a poetry soiree supported by The Friends of Waikato Museum and Hamilton Book Month. Hear from featured poet, Waikato University Writer in Residence Richard von Sturmer, as well as award-winning writers and Waikato-based poets Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor, Carrie Barber, Stephanie Christie, Peter Dornauf, Norman Franke, Hayden Pyke, essa may ranapiri, Elaine Riddell, Tracey Slaughter, Barry Smith and Mere Taito with our MC Nick Clothier.

Light refreshments are served from 6-6.30pm, and poetry readings begin at 6.30pm.

Bookings essential.



Aimee Jane Anderson-O'Connor

Aimee-Jane Anderson-O’Connor was awarded the 2018 Charles Brasch Young Writers’ Essay Competition, and the 2017 Monash Prize for Emerging Writers. Her poem ‘Instructions’ was named by The Spinoff as the best poem of 2018, and she took up The Spinoff Review of Books Writer-in-Residence Award at the start of 2019. Her work has appeared in Starling, Mayhem, Brief, Poetry New Zealand, Landfall, Turbine, Mimicry, Min-a-rets, Sweet Mammalian, Sport and Verge. She is currently completing a PhD at the University of Waikato. 


Barry Smith

Barry Smith has been writing poetry in its many forms for about forty years. His work has been published in, amongst others, Poetry New Zealand, Takahe, Southern Ocean Review, Kokako, Haibun Today and several poetry anthologies including Nga Kupu: an anthology of Waikato poetry.


Carrie Barber

Carrie Cornsweet Barber has been writing poetry since she was seventeen; she was active in high school and college literary magazines in California and Pennsylvania, and then got distracted by matters of career and family life, writing poems between and about episodes of that ongoing saga.  In 2007, she and her family moved to New Zealand, and she was active in the Poets Alive group in Hamilton, won first and second prize in Wintec’s Poetry Day competition in 2013, and published in the University of Waikato’s Mayhem online journal.  She is currently emerging from a literary lull.  In her spare time, she is a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Waikato.


Elaine Riddell

Elaine Riddell is a Hamilton writer with a particular focus on haiku and tanka - short poems which have developed from ancient Japanese forms. The internet has enabled the growth of a vibrant international community of writers of modern haiku, tanka and other Japanese genres. Elaine has won a number of awards and her work is published in anthologies and journals in New Zealand, Australia, UK, Japan and North America. Elaine also writes mainstream poetry. She has work included in Nga Kupu Waikato: An anthology of Waikato poetry, ed. Vaughan Rapatahana  (2019).



Hayden Pyke

Hayden writes poetry and short fiction late at night while his real life is asleep. He has been published in Mayhem, Poetry NZ Yearbook, Fragments and others. His work has been translated into Italian and published in the Italian Poetry Journal, Almanacco.


essa may ranapiri 

essa may ranapiri (Ngāti Raukawa/Ngāti Takatāpui/Clan Gunn/Highgate, England) is a poet from Kirikiriroa, Aotearoa. They are a graduate of the IIML’s 2017 Masters in Creative Writing course. Their first collection of poems titled ransack (VUP) was longlisted for the Ockham in 2020. They are also the featured poet in Poetry Yearbook 2020 (Massey University Press). Their writing skews experimental, personal and political, lyric, concrete poetry, and polemic. With these forms they explore their identity as takatāpui and imagine radical forms of tino rangatiratanga. They write for their descendants long ago and their ancestors yet to come. 

 photo credit: Loren Thomas


Mere Taito

Mere Taito is originally from Rotuma, Fiji. She is based in Hamilton and works at the University of Waikato. She is the author of The Light and Dark in our Stuff, a chapbook of poetry. Her work has also appeared in various anthologies and creative journals such as Wild Honey, Landfall, Manifesto Aotearoa, Nga Kupu Waikato, Phantom Billstickers Café Reader, Poetical Bridges (a translated English-Romanian collection of work), Flash Frontier, So Many Islands (work from writers in the Caribbean, Oceania, and Mediterranean), and Bonsai  (an anthology of flash fiction). Her poem ‘The quickest way to trap a folktale’ was selected as a Best New Zealand Poem (BNZP) for 2017.


 Norman Franke

Dr Norman P. Franke is a New Zealand based poet and scholar. He has published widely about 18th century literature as well as German-speaking exile literature (Albert Einstein, Else Lasker-Schüler, Karl Wolfskehl) and eco-poetics. A member of the New Zealand PEN, Norman’s poetry has been broadcasted on radio and published in anthologies in Austria, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, the UK and the USA [2017/18 finalist at the Aesthetica (UK) and Feldkircher (Austria) literature contests; long-listed for 2019 NZ Flash Fiction Day competition and Takahē Short Story Competition, 2020 NZ Flash Fiction Day]. Recent poetry publications in Ariel (Würzburg), IthacaLit (Ithaca, NY), and FlashFrontier (Dunedin).


Peter Dornauf

Peter Dornauf has published two collections of poetry: Metaphysical Midnight Cowboy Blues, (1913) and Every So Often, (1917). A new collection is soon to come out entitled, Story Time. He is also the author of two novels and six novellas as well as five non-fiction works, the most recent of which, Size Matters, (2019), is a history of cosmology and its impact on religious thought.


Richard von Sturmer

Richard is an artist, poet, playwright, film-maker, and musician. He has published seven books featuring a mixture of poetry, prose poems and creative non-fiction and his works have appeared in The New Zealand Listener, brief, LandfallSport, and Zen Bow. Richard is currently Writer in Residence at the University of Waikato.


Stephanie Christie 

Stephanie Christie, the artist formerly known as Will, is curious about what words do. She makes page poems, collaborates on creative experiments and explores words as aesthetic objects.  She has performed poetry in festivals, shown text art in the Calder and Lawson Gallery, Studio One Gallery and Weasel Gallery, recorded poems for NZEPC Six Pack Sound, and was Poetry New Zealand’s 2019 featured poet. Her poetry collections are Luce Cannon, The Facts of Light, and Carbon Shapes and Dark Matter. Her current obsession is making word-based installations. She recently had three multimedia poetic works installed in the Mesoverse, an immersive art adventure in Hamilton.


Tracey Slaughter

Tracey Slaughter's latest poetry collection is Conventional Weapons (VUP, 2019). Her award-winning novella if there is no shelter is due for publication in the UK later in 2020 (with Ad Hoc Fiction), & she is the author of acclaimed short fiction collection Deleted Scenes for Lovers (VUP, 2016). Her poetry and short stories have won numerous national & international awards, including the international Fish Short Story Prize 2020 & the Bridport Prize 2014. She teaches creative writing at the University of Waikato, where she edits the journals Mayhem and Poetry New Zealand.


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Image credit: Gail Pittaway