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COVID has again meant that New Zealand has gone into lockdown.

Divine Muses would like to thank the Central Library for enabling this year's reading to go online
and thanks the poets for their time in taking part in the reading.



To hear David Eggleton's earlier reading click here

Celebrate National Poetry Day with the Isthmus Poets and NZ Poet Laureate David Eggleton.

The Isthmus Poets – Alexandra Fraser, Michael Giacon, Lincoln Jaques, Denise O’Hagan, Maris O'Rourke and Gillian Roach – all live and work in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. The Auckland isthmus is their home and stomping ground, their image-mine, their heart. They are shaped and inspired by its communities and geography.

The six poets first came together in 2017 as part of a critique group established by Siobhan Harvey and James George of Auckland University of Technology to help alumni sustain their writing journeys after completing the Master of Creative Writing. A mix of emerging and experienced poets, each member brings a wealth of technical expertise, life-experience, and aroha to the group. Over the past four years they have grown in strength and purpose, supporting each other’s individual work, publishing and reading together, and running events for National Poetry Day.

Throughout this time, Siobhan Harvey has been a wonderful friend and mentor. The isthmus, bounded by sea on either side, linking two larger areas of land, provides a fine metaphor for how Siobhan acts to connect people and ideas within the poetry world. Her support has been invaluable and is a model for the Isthmus Poets’ long term goal to help grow poetry in the Auckland region by encouraging new and emerging poets.

From the South Island we welcome NZ Poet Laureate 2019-2021 David Eggleton. A writer of Palagi, Rotuman and Tongan descent based in Dunedin. A former Editor of Landfall and Landfall Review Online as well as the Phantom Billstickers Cafe Reader he has published a number of poetry collections. He has also released a number of recordings with his poetry set to music by a variety composers and musicians. In 2016 his book The Conch Trumpet won the Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Poetry and he was the recipient of the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry. In May 2021 Otago University Press published his most recent poetry collection The Wilder Years: Selected Poems.


We are delighted to also be introducing the Isthmus Poets' OPEN MIC for Emerging Poets which will provide an opportunity for new and emerging poets to share their work on National Poetry Day 2021.

Guidelines: Open to new and emerging poets only, who have not yet published a book of poetry. Each reader may perform a poem on any subject and in any style but it must be an original poem that they have created.

  • One poem only, no longer than one page.
  • There is a three minute maximum for each performer, including introductions.
  • There are a limited number of slots. First in, first served.
  • Poets must sign up on the night, between 5.30 and 5.50 pm, prior to the Divine Muses Reading.
  • Please sign up with the name you want to be introduced by.

  • Due to Covid restrictions the OPEN MIC section was not able to proceed.


    ALEXANDER FRASER is a Waikato-grown, Auckland-living, prize-winning poet, whose work has been published in a wide range of magazines and anthologies both in New Zealand and overseas. Alexandra writes poetry seriously and YA fantasy frivolously. She likes adverbs and gerunds. She is a graduate of the Auckland University of Technology with a Master of Creative Writing, and a graduate of Otago University in Zoology. She is sporadically working on her third poetry collection following her successful Conversation by Owl-Light and Star Trails.

    MICHAEL GIACON was a 1950s home birth in Maungawhau/Mt Eden, and apart from a couple of years in the Veneto, Italy where his father was born, he has lived, studied, worked, and wondered all his life on the central isthmus of Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland. He has a Masters in creative writing/poetry from AUT, and is on the board of the Same Same But Different LGBTQI+ Writers’ Festival. He feels he is almost ready to send the MS for his first poetry book out across the isthmus to the waiting world. Michael is our MC this evening.

    DENISE O'HAGAN completed a Master of Creative Writing at Auckland University of Technology, following her Degree in Botany (Hons) from Massey University. She writes both poetry and fiction and has had poems published in Fresh Ink Anthology, NZ Poetry Society Anthology, Fast Fibres Poetry, a fine line and takahē magazine (forthcoming) and a short story in Fresh Ink. She speaks four languages having spent twelve years living in Brazil, Chile, Spain, Belgium and England which has inspired four novels in both contemporary and historical fiction.


    LINCOLN JAQUES holds a Master of Creative Writing, which centred on the noir fiction of Jean Patrick Manchette, Ted Lewis, David Goodis and Patricia Highsmith. His poetry, fiction and travel writing has appeared most recently in Tough Magazine, Noir Nation (forthcoming), Mother Mary Comes to Me: A Pop Culture Poetry Anthology, The Blue Nib, Mayhem, Poetry NZ Yearbook, Poetry for the Planet anthology and Blackmail Press. He was a Vaughan Park Residential Scholar in 2020, and was highly commended in the 2018 NEW VOICES emerging poets competition.


    MARIS O'ROURKE describes herself as a poet and a peregrina, a writer and a walker. Her work has appeared in a wide range of journals, anthologies and on-line. She has been well placed in many competitions and published a family history, a poetry collection, a memoir and six children’s books (one bilingual and one in Te Reo). She is currently working on her latest poetry collection Paradox, a limited edition letterpress book by Tara McLeod illustrated with original artwork by Paddy O’Rourke. She lives and works in Mt Eden with her whānau, travels widely and regularly retreats to write and walk in Wāingaroa/Raglan.


    GILLIAN ROACH won the NEW VOICES emerging poets competition in 2018 and was runner-up in the Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems in 2018 and 2019. Her poems have appeared in takahē, Landfall and Poetry New Zealand. Gillian lives in Sandringham, Auckland, and her work is inspired and influenced by her unique community and environment.


    With thanks to: