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Divine Muses X : an evening of poetry was held at the Gus Fisher Gallery as part of this years National Poetry Day, Friday August 16th, 2013.

To open the evening the winner of the National Schools Poetry Award, Emma Shin, a year 13 student from Auckland’s Pakuranga College, read her winning poem “inadequately blue". Click here for more information on the award and to read Emma's poem.

Rosetta Allan, MC, set the theme by reading two of her own poems then introduced Riemke Ensing, Siobhan Harvey, C. K. Stead, Albert Wendt, Kiri Pihana-Wong who each read a selection of their own poems and one from a fellow poet they admired.

At the close of the evening the Auckland University Press and Divine Muses emerging poets competition NEW VOICES, 2013 winners were announced and the winner, Elizabeth Morton, invited to read a poem.

Many thanks go to all this years poets, the entrants to the competition, to the Gus Fisher Gallery for the venue, Auckland University Press for their wonderful support of the competition and to Booksellers NZ for promoting poetry through their National Poetry Day programme.

Judge’s remarks:

I was very pleased again this year to be asked to judge this Emerging Poets Competition, run under the aegis of The Divine Muses and Auckland University Press and open to past and present students of the two universities in Auckland. A great array of poems greeted me as I dived into the folder of entries, and I was heartened by the emerging poetic talent on display there. But after shuffling and ordering and considering, a few poems stood out.

I want to highly commend poems by Tessa Forde and Rosetta Allan, whose entries showed a real facility with the craft of poetry. Coincidentally they both entered poems, Rosetta’s ‘New moon’ and Tessa’s ‘Red Light Diptych’, which both treated the moon, that classic subject of poetic obsession, in fresh ways, which is a tough thing to do. So congratulations to them.

In the second place I chose a poem by Jack Spicer, ‘Before I go to bed’, that was appealing in its simplicity of voice and will resonate with anyone who has sat staring at certain computer screensavers for too long! I understand that Jack is studying writing and Spanish at Auckland University and I wish him all the best with both.

And finally in first place I would like to congratulate Elizabeth Morton on her entries which showed vividly the different places poetry can take one to – one being set in a post-earthquake New Zealand city and one in early-morning Iraq. The poems were different in tone and register, but both showed a commendable attention to the details of the world and an ability to expand on those concrete details with metaphor, and in precise language that sang memorably on the ear. I think Elizabeth is here with us tonight, so I’d like to welcome her up to the stage to read ‘Breakfast in Iraq’ for us. And my warm congratulations to her.

Anna Hodge
Senior editor, Auckland University Press. August 2013.


Elizabeth Morton
NEW VOICES 2013 winner.

Elizabeth is a poet and student from Auckland.
She has a keen interest
in neuroscience and philosophy. In her spare
time she likes to forage
for obscure words. She
has been published in  JAAMPoetry NZ 
and Takahe.