Wellington poet Jane Arthur is the winner of the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize 2018.

Arthur is a Wellington-based poet with a Masters in Creative Writing from IIML at Victoria University, a Whitireia Polytech Diploma in Publishing and an MA in English from the University of Auckland. She has worked as an editor and bookseller for over 15 years and co-founded The Sapling, a NZ children’s literature website. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals.

Stuart Airey, Wes Lee and Robyn Maree Pickens joined Arthur as prize finalists at the Sarah Broom Poetry event at the Auckland Writers Festival on Sunday 20 May. Each read work from their prize submissions, introduced by Paula Green, who stood in for guest judge and New York poetry icon, Eileen Myles.

Myles described the quality of the entries for the prize as ‘really high’. After whittling down the list, they said ‘there’s an incredible intimacy about sharing that moment with a group of writers you’ve never met and then hunkering down finally with a small bunch of them’.

Of Arthur, Myles said that ‘poetry’s a connection to everything which I felt in all these poets but in this final winning one the most. There’s an unperturbed confident “real” here.’

About the Sarah Broom Poety Prize

The Sarah Broom Poetry Prize was established to celebrate the life and work of Sarah Broom (1972-2013), author of Tigers at Awhitu and Gleam. It is now in its fifth year, and we are pleased again to be working together with the Auckland Writers Festival to showcase and celebrate New Zealand poetry.

enter2017 GUEST JUDGE

Eileen Myles is an American poet and writer who has produced more than twenty volumes of poetry, fiction and other works. Their poetry collections includes I Must Be Living Twice (selected poems) and Not Me, and they are the author of Inferno, a novel detailing the hell of the life of the female poet. Myles has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction, four Lambda Book Awards, and numerous other awards and fellowships. Fellow novelist Dennis Cooper has described Myles as “one of the savviest and most restless intellects in contemporary literature”.


Other finalsts

Stuart Airey is a poet with a day job as an optometrist, which involves using the logical, scientific part of his mind. He describes poetry as “letting me explore all the other bits”. Stuart began writing poetry a few years ago; these poems are as yet unpublished, but they have been performed in his local church. Poems allow a part of him to look up at the Port Hills, walk along leafy Saint Albans, and gaze longlingly out at the Sumner surf.

Wes Lee is the author of Body, Remember (Eyewear Publishing, 2017), Shooting Gallery (Steele Roberts, 2016), and Cowboy Genes (Grist Books, University of Huddersfield Press, 2014). Her work has appeared in the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2018, New Writing Scotland, The London Magazine, Landfall, Poetry London, Irises: The University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s Poetry Prize Anthology 2017, and many other journals and anthologies. She has won a number of awards for her writing including the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Literary Award; the Short Fiction Writing Prize (University of Plymouth Press) and the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Award in Galway.

Robyn Maree Pickens is an art writer, poet, and curator. Her critical and creative work is centred on the relationship between aesthetic practices and ecological reparation. Robyn’s poetry has appeared in the Australian eco-poetic journal Plumwood Mountain (2018), and US journals Matador Review (2017), water soup (2017), and Jacket 2 (2017). Her most recent work was exhibited at ARTSPACE, Auckland in March 2018. Robyn's poetry criticism has appeared in Rain Taxi (2018) and Jacket 2 (2018).