Vincent O'Sullivan, New Zealand Poet Laureate 2013-2015


Photograph by Mark Beatty.

Vincent O’Sullivan has long been recognized as one of New Zealand’s significant literary figures, through his extensive publications as a short story writer, novelist, biographer, playwright, and editor, as well as for his many volumes of poetry. Vincent lives in Dunedin.

He has received Montana Awards for poetry as well as for fiction, the Prime Minister's Award in 2005, and in 2000 was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Vincent is also the pre-eminent Katherine Mansfield scholar, being co-editor of the five volume edition of her Collected Letters, and the two volumes of her Complete Fiction, published last year by Edinburgh University Press.

His most recent collection of poetry, Us, Then, has just been released by Victoria University Press, which next year will bring out both his Selected Poems, and The Families, a new book of short stories.

As the English critic Chris Miller recently wrote of O’Sullivan’s work, "You can’t ask much more of a poet than wit, profundity and elegance, and they’re all here in spades."

1 comment:

Chris said...

The figure at the paddock's edge,
The shadow in the football team,
The memory beside the hedge,
The notes behind a song that seem
Another song, a different dream –
The past we harvest that was yours,
The present that you gave for ours.

The life in places once your own
And left behind, and what was said
To husband, father, lover, son,
Are stories that were lost instead,
That ran to darkness where you bled –
Are what we owe you, we who say
'See morning in its usual way

Moving along the ridges, the bright
Day broadening on the river,
The warmth of cities wakening, the sight
Of roads ahead and doors forever
Onto families, friends, whatever
Life allows us, one another –
What we have and you do not, our brother.'

Solemn the speeches and the drum
That draw you to the unguessed tomb,
But more than these, the sounds that come
To us as once to you, from
Bach and backyard, from marae and town,
Our standing where you too have stood
‘Now and forever, home is good'.