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Exhibition Archive


The Next Word: Contemporary New Zealand Poetry recently opened at the National Library, Wellington. Curated by Brendan O’Brien it features broadsheets from past fundraising campaigns of Divine Muses and New Voices - Emerging Poets Competition.

The Broadsheets on exhibition are:
Harry Ricketts Glebe Cliff, Christmas Day 2014. Printed by Peter Vangioni at the Kowhai Press, Christchurch.
Tusiata Avia Couple. Printed by: Elizabeth Serjeant at The Green Bay Press.
Siobhan Harvey Contrails. Printed by Tara McLeod, The Pear Tree Press.
Vana Manasiadis I would rather lose a good earring than be caught without make-up (Davis, Crawford, various starlets), written 2017. Printed by Shona Gow, Magpie Press.

The Limited Edition Broadsheet Project exists with thanks due to the generosity of poets and printmakers.

The Next Word: Contemporary New Zealand Poetry

4 December 2017 - 24 March 2018.

An exhibition showcasing the many-faceted voices of New Zealand poets, encompassing the oral tradition of Maori as well as the poetic traditions of Pakeha and Tauiwi.

Poetry has long been an influential presence in New Zealand society; a many-faceted voice encompassing the oral tradition of Maori as well as the poetic traditions of Pakeha and Tauiwi.

The Alexander Turnbull Library, as a major repository of New Zealand poetry, collects not only published work but also poetry in the form of fine printing, ephemera, manuscript and recorded sound. This exhibition presents a small selection from these collections; in which we hope you will find poems - and the rich variety of their settings - that will entertain, intrigue, and make you curious to look further.

The Next Word charts the work of recent generations of poets beginning with 70’s folk heroes Sam Hunt and James K. Baxter through to the international sensation that is Hera Lindsay Bird. This exhibition chronicles the development of New Zealand poetry not as a single unified voice, but as a cacophony of voices with a multitude of stories to tell.

Among the significant influences enriching contemporary culture are writers of Polynesian descent whose words quest outward over oceans, and bustling cities, connecting the poetry of New Zealand to our neighbours. This influence is further acknowledged in the National Library’s recent appointment of Selina Tusitala Marsh as New Zealand Poet Laureate. Selina’s work introduces a fresh literary style, a Pasifika voice, which communicates in new ways both to recently arrived generations of New Zealanders and those long settled here.

Reference: https://natlib.govt.nz/visiting/wellington/the-turnbull-gallery

To mark the opening of the exhibition Harry Ricketts gave the first public talk Baxter, Bird and beyond: New Zealand Poetry on the 14 December. He spoke about New Zealand poetry as it stands today, and how it got here.

Harry Ricketts teaches English literature and creative writing at Victoria University of Wellington. He’s published over twenty books as a biographer, anthologist and scholar, including 99 ways into New Zealand Poetry with Paula Green. He has also published ten collections of his own poetry, with a new collection, Winter Eyes, to be published by Victoria University Press in 2018.

Refer to the National Library website for future events.


If in Wellington I hope you will have the opportunity to view this exhibition as the National Library shows are always small gems.

Turnbull Gallery, Level one.
National Library
Corner Molesworth and Aitken Street

10am-5pm, Monday to Saturday

Christmas Hours https://natlib.govt.nz/visiting/wellington/christmas-hours

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