Scoop Review of Books

Stead Wins Montana Anthology Award

Auckland University Press Authors Win at the Montana NZ Book Awards

The Collected Poems of C K Stead, 1951–2006, selected and edited by C K Stead himself and published by Auckland University Press, has won the Reference and Anthology Award at the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

Announcing the award at a gala ceremony in Auckland on 27 July, the judges described Stead’s Collected Poems as a major production as well as a major collection of poetry produced in this country.

“Auckland University Press has produced a fine book that ushers Stead into the company of Curnow and Baxter. Reading through this book solidifies Stead’s claim to major status as a later twentieth-century New Zealand poets who has achieved international as well as national esteem..”

The judges found that what further distinguished this book from its competitors was the selection of the work to make a new whole

“Its editorial intelligence marks it as an anthology that adds something significant and new to the work as it has appeared thus far.”

C K Stead, ONZ, CBE, is Professor Emeritus in English of The University of Auckland, where he taught for 20 years. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the University in 2008.

Everything Talks, by Sam Sampson, another alumnus of The University of Auckland, won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry. The announcement was made last Friday, Montana Poetry Day, and the award presented at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards last night.

Sam Sampson has an MA in Philosophy from the University and was for some time a for some time tutored in its ethnomusicology Department.

The judges said 2008 was a particularly strong year for poetry publishing generally and for new poets in particular.

In Everything Talks, they said, winning newcomer Sam Sampson “adopts a language-based experimentalism that takes us on an unpredictable ride through poems in which we glimpse every so often recognised signposts of New Zealand literature like Allen Curnow turned to a distinct new purpose.

“The work we selected as winner displays an uncompromising effort to make language work intensely, to generate excitement and involvement from the reader, and to toy with access to meaning.”

Each Category of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards carries a prize of $5,000. The winners of the NZSA Best First book Awards win $2,500 each.