Festival of Hope 1 / 28 April 2020

Verb Wellington’s Poetry Playlist

Wellington, New Zealand is home to many poets. Our city has a rich history of storytelling that continues to flourish. This poetry playlist highlights eight of the wonderful poets creating work in Aotearoa. The recordings were made in 2019 as part of a digital component to the Verb Festival.

Click on the images to follow external links.

Isabelle McNeur

Isabelle McNeur has been published in journals such as Starling, NZ Poetry Yearbook, Flash Frontier, Wizards in Space and Headland. She hopes to one day be financially stable enough to adopt a dog.

Lynda Chanwai-Earle

Lynda Chanwai-Earle is a well-known public broadcaster, having worked for many years as a documentary producer at Radio New Zealand. She has been a guest at numerous festivals, including the Hong Kong Literary Festival, the Asia Pacific Poetry Festival, and the Shanghai Literary Festival. Lynda’s first book of poetry,Honeypants, was shortlisted for the New Zealand Book Awards. She has published four plays and has been shortlisted three times for the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award.

Nick Ascroft

Nick Ascroft has just released his fourth collection of poetry through VUP, entitled Moral Sloth. Once elfin, glittery and ambiguous, he is now a flaccid middle-aged Dad, working for the government. Photo credit Grant Maiden.

Nikki-Lee Birdsey

Nikki-Lee Birdsey was born in Piha. She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and a BA from New York University. She has over 30 publications of poetry and prose in the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand including the chapbook Free That Hooker (Aero Press 2012). She is currently a PhD candidate at the International Institute of Modern Letters. Her first book Night as Day was published by VUP in 2019, work for which received a Pushcart Prize nomination in the United States.

Ruby Solly

Ruby Solly is a Kai Tahu writer and musician living Te Whanganui-a-Tara. She has been published in Landfall, Minarets, and Starling amongst others. She is currently editing her first manuscript of poetry, Tōku Pāpā, which discusses themes of Māori identity and how this is passed on through whakapapa and family relationships, highlighting relationships between fathers and daughters outside of their papa kainga. Photo credit Rachael Hinds.

Sam Duckor-Jones

Sam is a Wellington artist and writer, recently returned from a six year stint in the Wairarapa - where he remains on the board of Featherston Booktown (visit FBT 2020!) His first collection of poetry People from the pit stand up was published by VUP in 2018. He is currently working on a graduate diploma in biodiversity & ecology at Victoria University. Sam is represented by Bowen Galleries and has exhibited widely across New Zealand. During this Verb MicroResidency he will be collecting sounds, testing troublesome/choice lines out loud & cutting up, rearranging & generally tuning his new collection of poems.

Mary Macpherson 

Mary Macpherson is a Wellington poet and photographer. Her poems have been published in many print and online journals in New Zealand and Australia. Her first collection 'Social Media' is being published by the Cuba Press. Photo credit Peter Black.

Sugar Magnolia Wilson

Sugar Magnolia Wilson is from a valley called Fern Flat in the Far North of New Zealand. She completed her MA in creative writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington in 2012. Her work has been published in the literary journals Turbine, Shenandoah, Cordite, Food Court, Landfall and Sport. In 2014 she co-founded the journal Sweet Mammalian, with Hannah Mettner and Morgan Bach.


Verb Wellington

Verb Wellington is a literary organisation based in New Zealand’s capital city. Verb creates events throughout the year to bring readers and writers together for conversation and ideas. Every year in November, Verb presents a five-day festival that celebrates writers from Aotearoa and the world. Verb also runs writers residencies, publishes new writing, and advocates for the arts.