Welcome to Chris Tse our new Poet Laureate

The National Library is delighted to celebrate National Poetry Day by announcing Chris Tse of Wellington as the New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2022-2024.

Te Pouhuaki National Librarian Rachel Esson described Chris’s appointment as recognition of “a poet leading a generational and cultural shift in the reach and appreciation of poetry in Aotearoa.”

Fellow poet Freya Daly Sadgrove says Chris “will unite and embolden the full breadth of Aotearoa’s poetry community as well as entice new audiences with his innovation. He’s a glam-rock poetry superstar with a big, gorgeous heart and he will raise the profile of Aotearoa poetry right now like no one else.”

Chinese man in coulourful jacket standing in front of a large round mirror.
Self-portrait Chris Tse. Photo provided. 

For Tse, his appointment was a thrill and an honour.

“The number 13 is a lucky number in my family, so it feels very auspicious to be named the 13th New Zealand Poet Laureate.

“Stepping into this role as a queer, Asian writer is an incredible and life-changing opportunity. I’m thrilled and honoured to be following in the footsteps of some of our literary greats.

“New Zealand’s poetry scene is thrumming with diverse and innovative voices on both the page and the stage, and I can’t wait to use my tenure as Poet Laureate to help people discover the riches of this scene.”

Congratulations Chris we look forward to hearing more from you.

Why Hollywood won’t cast poets in films anymore

1. There are public reasons and there are private reasons.

2. The public reasons are toothless exaggerations

3. In private, we recount the times we’ve been made to feel damaged.

4. The night writes its power ballads behind closed doors.

5. We have dressed our wounds with the sins of our tormentors.

6. When we were happy, we filled our suitcases with fresh bread.

7. Now that we are filled with rage we choke our duck ponds with dry crusts.

8. There was a time when the colour of a nightclub brawl did not exist.

9. Nowadays, a bookstore drive-by shooting no longer elicits social media outrage.

10. We must acknowledge that there are no more wars left to cry over.

11. Except for the wars we wage against ourselves, which we refuse to acknowledge.

12. We carved our names into every building to remind ourselves never to return.

13. You can dance for a destination, but you will never get there in one piece.

14. Careers based on public humiliation are no longer worth curating.

15. At no point have we accepted responsibility for casting the first stone.

16. If it’s all lies, we must pretend not to notice.

17. If it’s all truth, we must pretend not to care.

18. Either way, it’s meant to hurt.

19. It’s meant to make you want to leave your husband for a tax accountant.

20. It’s the way we step out of a burning theatre as if nothing’s wrong.

21. As if the smoke in our eyes is a lover’s smile caught in sunlight.

22. An uncontrollable fire is perfectly fine, given the state of the world.

23. Then why do I feel so angry?

24. Are you angry?

25. I’m angry.

— Chris Tse

Poster announceing Chris Tse as new Poet Laureate, includes a poem called ‘Chris Tse and  his imaginary band’ and biographical information about Chris which is available on the Poet Laureate blog.
Poster announcing Chris Tse as the new Poet Laureate.
Thank you to Phantom Billstickers for the poster.