David Eggleton, New Zealand Poet Laureate 2019–2022

David Eggleton. Image David Mackenzie

David Eggleton lives in Otepoti/Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand. He is a poet, writer and critic whose writing has appeared in a wide variety of New Zealand publications.

As a poet he has presented his poems in many venues to all kinds of audiences. He began reciting his poetry at rock music gigs in the early 1980s and remains interested in presenting poetry in as many media contexts as possible, keeping poetry live as well as vital. His poems have featured in murals, in short films, on T-shirts, in shop window displays, been written on pavements and included in art gallery exhibitions. A TV documentary: 'For Arts Sake — Art and Politics — Performance Poet David Eggleton' won First Prize for TV Arts Documentary in the Qantas Media Awards in 1997.

The editor of 'Landfall' between 2011 and 2018, he also edited the widely distributed free street arts magazine 'The Cafe Reader' between 2014 and 2018. A noted arts reviewer, he has received the Reviewer of the Year Award six times at the New Zealand Book Awards.

His first collection of poems, 'South Pacific Sunrise', was co-winner of the PEN Best First Book of Poetry Award in 1987. His seventh collection of poems, 'The Conch Trumpet', won the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Poetry. In 2016 he also received the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Poetry. In 2018, his eight collection of poems, 'Edgeland', was published by Otago University Press.

David Eggleton has been described as a beatnik bop poet, performing with the perpetual motion of a jiver down at a rock and roll dance-hall on Saturday night. He has also been called a visible ghost-writer, an anonymous voice-over, a shape-shifting poet in the street — a freestyling surrealist and lyrical word-spinner rhyming to a rhythmic beat.


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