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The Waimakariri Libraries will celebrate National Poetry Day
this year with one of New Zealand’s leading poets Bernadette Hall. Library
staff will join Bernadette in sharing their favourite poems, and there will be
an opportunity to read your favourite poem in the open mic.
Born in Central Otago in 1945, Bernadette
Hall describes herself as a ‘peace baby’. Although she did not become an
author until in her 40s, Bernadette has since published ten poetry collections
and edited several. Her work has been widely anthologised nationally and
internationally, including eight times in Best New Zealand Poems. Most recently, ‘The
Perfumes of Arabia’ (Catalyst, 2016) was selected by Jenny Bornholt as one
of the Best New Zealand Poems of 2016. Amongst her extensive
accolades, The Press honoured Bernadette for her lasting contribution
to literature in the South Island (2003), and she was the recipient of the
Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement (2015). Influenced by her Irish
parents, the resonances of divided loyalty are a continuing theme in her
writing. Ron Riddell (NZ Listener) described her voice as ‘quintessentially a
South Island one: rooted in river, plain and mountain, with an open,
wide-ranging world view that is both compassionate and empathetic’. In 2017,
Bernadette was admitted to The New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to
Bernadette has attended numerous festivals and been Writer-in-Residence
at Victoria University (2006), and at Rathcoola in County Cork, Ireland
(2007). In 2011, she taught at the Institute of Modern Letters at Post-Graduate
level. In 2008, Bernadette co-founded The Hagley Writers’ Institute. It
continues to flourish under Director, Morrin Rout, and Bernadette is now its
An Artists in Antarctica Award (2004), shared with friend and
collaborator Dunedin artist, Kathryn Madill, resulted in Bernadette’s
seventh poetry collection The Ponies (VUP, 2007). An
extract from this is to be displayed near Scott’s statue on a Literary Trail,
part of Te Papa Otakao / the Avon River Precinct. One poem was dramatised
for TV One’s Artsville programme. Chris Archer, a Christchurch composer, turned
another into a choral work.
Bernadette’s new work Maukatere: Floating Mountain, was published
by Seraph Press in May 2016, a limited edition of 170 signed copies,
hand-stitched and with original drawings by the Wellington artist, Rachel
Register for this Friends of the Library event at any Waimakariri
Library, or phone 311 8901.
National Poetry Day at the Library Advert (pdf, 457.8 KB)