Poet 10:

Ian Wedde
[photo: Oliver Read, 2009]

Ian Wedde
(b. 1946)

Born in Blenheim, Ian Wedde spent most of his childhood overseas, first in Pakistan, then in Britain. Returning to New Zealand in his mid-teens, Wedde attended the University of Auckland, from which he graduated MA (Hons.) in English in 1968.

Wedde lived for a time in Amman, Jordan, before arriving in London in 1970, where he found work as poetry critic for the London Magazine. His first poetry collection, Homage to Matisse, appeared in 1971. He returned to New Zealand the following year, taking up a Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago.

Wedde wrote and published poetry and fiction steadily throughout the mid- and late-1970s, gaining a reputation for his willingness to inscribe political and theoretical interests into his work. His output during this period engaged with both local environmental and social and the experimental literary movements coming out of the United States. He was also gaining success as a novelist; his first novel – Dick Seddon’s Great Dive (Dunedin: McIndoe, 1976) – won the New Zealand Book Award for fiction in 1977.

In the 1980s, Wedde’s prominence as writer and critic gained both expression and enhancement in his co-editorship of the Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse (1985). His introduction dealt with such issues as canonization, landscape, gender, race, and the possibilities and limitations of a ‘national style’ in poetry.

Ian Wedde
[photo: Robert Cross]

Author Pages

  1. Homage to Matisse. London: Amphedesma Press, 1971.
  2. Made Over: Poems. Auckland: Stephen Chan, 1974.
  3. Earthly: Sonnets for Carlos. Cover by Joanna Paul. Akaroa: Amphedesma Press, 1975.
  4. Pathway to the Sea. Christchurch: Hawk Press, 1975.
  5. Spells for Coming Out. Drawings by Joanna Paul. Auckland: Auckland University Press & Oxford University Press, 1977.
  6. Castaly: Poems 1974-1977. Drawings by Jeffrey Harris. Auckland: Auckland University Press & Oxford University Press, 1980.
  7. Georgicon. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1984.
  8. Tales of Gotham City. Auckland: Auckland University Press & Oxford University Press, 1984.
  9. Selected Poems: Driving into the Storm. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1987.
  10. Tendering. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1988.
  11. The Drummer. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1993.
  12. The Commonplace Odes. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2001.
  13. Three Regrets and a Hymn to Beauty: New Poems. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2005.
  14. Good Business: New Poems 2005-2008. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2009.
  15. The Lifeguard: Poems 2008-2013. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2013.
  16. Selected Poems. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2017.
  17. The Little Ache – a German notebook. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2021.

  18. Fiction:
  19. Dick Seddon's Great Dive. Auckland: Islands, 1976.
  20. The Shirt Factory and Other Stories. Wellington: Victoria University Press & Price Milburn, 1981.
  21. Symmes Hole. Auckland: Penguin, 1986.
  22. Survival Arts. London: Faber, 1988.
  23. The Viewing Platform. Auckland: Penguin, 2006.
  24. Chinese Opera. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2008.
  25. The Catastrophe. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2011.
  26. Trifecta. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2015.
  27. The Reed Warbler. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2020.

  28. Critical Prose:
  29. How to be Nowhere: Essays and Texts 1971-1994. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1995.
  30. Making Ends Meet: Essays and Talks 1992-2004. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2005.
  31. Bill Culbert: Making Light Work. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2009.
  32. The Grass Catcher: A Digression about Home. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2014.

  33. Edited & Translated:
  34. Wedde, Ian, & Fawwaz Tuqan, trans. Mahmoud Darwish: Selected Poems. Cheadle: Carcanet Press, 1973.
  35. Wedde, Ian, & Harvey McQueen, ed. The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse. Auckland: Penguin, 1985.
  36. Wedde, Ian, Miriama Evans & Harvey McQueen, ed. The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Poetry: Ngā Kupu Tītohu o Aotearoa. Auckland: Penguin, 1989.

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