The Best New Zealand Poems series, begun in 2001 is an annual online selection of poems chosen by guest editors. The program is run by the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
The series, which is “shamelessly modelled” on The Best American Poetry series, takes one poem each from 25 New Zealand poets, the first annual editor, Iain Sharp, wrote in his introduction to the 2001 selection. The poems must have been published that year either in magazines or books. A new editor selects the poems each year.
“A steady association with the country is sufficient” to be considered a “New Zealander”, Sharp wrote.
Bill Manhire, head of the International Institute of Modern Letters,
is the series editor and writes a “Welcome” section to each annual
collection of poems in the series. Sharp wrote in his introduction that
he discussed the nature of the series with Manhire. In his introduction
to the 2005 selection, Andrew Johnston wrote, “I couldn’t include a
poem from Manhire’s latest and best book, Lifted, because he is effectively the publisher of Best New Zealand Poems.”
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