5 Aug 2011
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New Zealand's new Poet Laureate for 2011-2013 is Ian Wedde, the Minister responsible for the National Library Nathan Guy has announced today.
"The Poet Laureate is a prestigious position, acting as an Ambassador for the role of poetry as part of our national culture," says Mr Guy.
"This position is administered by the National Library and is a recognition by the government of how important poetry is to our history, culture and identity.
"Mr Wedde has had a distinguished career in the arts and is well qualified to take on this important role."
His publications include fourteen collections of poetry, six novels, two collections of essays, a monograph on the artist Bill Culbert, several art catalogues, and numerous contributions to other books.
Ian Wedde has received National Book Awards for fiction and poetry, an Arts Foundation Laureate award, a Distinguished Alumni Award at the University of Auckland, the Landfall Essay prize and was created an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
The New Zealand Poet Laureate receives $80,000 over the two-year period of their tenure. They are supported by the National Library to define the role in their own individual way, while fulfilling the responsibilities of the office.
They are expected to produce a publication of the work written during their period as Laureate and to publicly advocate for and present poetry.
Previous Laureates have included Bill Manhire, Hone Tuwhare, Elizabeth Smither, Brian Turner, Jenny Bornholdt and Michele Leggott. The outgoing Poet Laureate is Bluff poet Cilla McQueen.
The National Library maintains a website for the Poet Laureate: http://nzpoetlaureate.natlib.govt.nz/