Best New Zealand Poems is published annually by the International Institute of Modern Letters, and aims to introduce readers – especially internationally – to leading contemporary New Zealand poets. The poems are chosen to show the vitality and range of current writing. We have shamelessly modelled this online project on the successful US paperback anthology, The Best American Poetry. Each year we publish 25 poems from recent literary magazines and poetry collections, where possible including notes about and by the poet, as well as links to related publishing and literary websites. In this way we hope that readers will be able to follow up fresh discoveries. There are plenty to be made.

We are delighted that well over 50% of visitors to Best New Zealand Poems come from outside New Zealand.

The editorship of Best New Zealand Poems changes annually. This year’s editor is Paris-based poet Andrew Johnston. Earlier editors were poet and novelist Emma Neale (2004) ex-Islands editor Robin Dudding (2003), Elizabeth Smither (2002) and Iain Sharp (2001). The 2006 issue will be jointly edited by Anne Kennedy and Robert Sullivan.

Best New Zealand Poems is supported by a grant from Creative New Zealand, whose assistance we gratefully acknowledge. Creative New Zealand’s grant goes entirely to contributors and editor.

Many thanks to Ralph Hotere, whose drawing for the first edition of James K Baxter’s Jerusalem Sonnets (Bibliography Room, University of Otago, 1970) we have used on our opening page.

Bill Manhire
International Institute of Modern Letters
March, 2006




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