Ōrongohau | Best New Zealand Poems 2023 selected by Chris Tse

Since 2001 the International Institute of Modern Letters has been home to Ōrongohau | Best New Zealand Poems. There is a guest editor for each selection and in 2023, this was our Poet Laureate, Chris Tse. Our Poets Laureate feature prominently in editors to date and Chris joined Laureate alumni Elizabeth Smither, Ian Wedde, Vincent O’Sullivan, Jenny Bornholdt, Selina Tusitala Marsh, and David Eggleton in accepting this rewarding if daunting assignment.

Of the 25 poems (from nearly 4000!) to make the cut, Chris observed:

‘Individually, these 25 poems are tender, aggressive, funny, angry, and contemplative. Collectively, they emphasise the power of poetry to communicate with an open heart without fear of retribution. These are the poems that surprised and delighted me the most, that made me pause to sit in my own discomfort or revel in another poet’s joy. Above all, they’re the poems I thought other people need to read.’

To read Chris’s full introduction and to read (and hear some of) the poems, and to spend time looking back down the years of New Zealand poetry in this century, have a look at the Best New Zealand poems website.

Thank you, Chris, a job well done!

Peter Ireland
for the National Library

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