new zealand electronic poetry centre




Ian Wedde

Recorded 11 October 2016 at the University of Auckland, Faculty of Arts Sound Studio.
Tim Page, sound engineer.

Ian Wedde
 Photo credit: Neil Mackenzie, courtesy Creative New Zealand.

Ian Wedde was born in Blenheim in 1946 but has lived in a variety of places. He writes fiction and essays as well as poetry and, as a curator, has published catalogues and a monograph on the artist Bill Culbert. He was New Zealand poet laureate 2011-13 and was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement (poetry) in 2014.

Poem notes

‘Barbary Coast’ was first published in Tendering (Auckland University Press, 1988) and again in The Drummer (Auckland University Press, 1993) as a companion to ‘The Drummer’—both allowed language to drag a fragment of dream across an undetermined narrative of sorts. ‘To Donna’s Young Dogs’ and ‘To My Sons’ are from The Commonplace Odes (Auckland University Press, 2001), which I wrote, after calling time on poetry for a while, with the help of the Latin poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus—the Horatian ode can be at once intimate and rhetorical and was just what I needed at the time. The poems in The Lifeguard (Auckland University Press, 2013) were written during the Michael King / University of Auckland residency at Devonport, Auckland, when the polarities of New Zealand’s west and east coasts—harsh, dramatic west; suave, louche east—suggested characters cast as lifeguards, the cyclops Polyphemus of Theocritus in the west, and Ovid’s Narcissus in the east. The Little Ache—a German notebook is yet to be published in book form. It was written in Berlin 2013–14 in the presence of ancestral ghosts, during tenure of the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writer’s Residency.


Last updated 6 December, 2017