Thursday, November 15, 2007

Paterson, Alistair

[Photograph: Jan Kemp (2002)]

Alistair Paterson (b. 1929)


Classic New Zealand Poets in Performance (2006):

Jenny Roache Love all the Boys in the World
On reading Robert Bly’s Selected Poems while sitting at a desk near a calendar bearing photographs of boats and shadows of boats on water
The dictionary of battles

Aotearoa NZ Poetry Sound Archive (2004):


1. The poem
2. On reading Robert Bly’s Selected Poems …
3. Pas de deux
4. Historia Calamitatum [1-3]
5. A Woman who’s never been to the Washington Zoo
6. The night before Christmas
7. Hurricanes/wild water
8. The man from Porlock
9. Nor’wester
10. An alchemy of machine guns
11. The dictionary of battles
12. a cappella

New Zealand Poets Read Their Work (1974):

LP 2, side 2


Waiata Archive (1974):

CD 5

The Wind through the World
An Amulet for Alexis
Birds Flying
Jenny Roache Love All the Boys in the World
Looking Backwards
Out of the Sun
Wrestling with Amanda

Bio /Bibliography:

Alistair Paterson ONZM has nine books of poetry to his credit, a book on poetic theory, a novel, a memoir, and a number of short stories, together with many literary articles, reviews and essays. He has edited several books including anthologies of poetry and short stories, and is former editor of the literary journals Mate and Climate. He also edited Poetry NZ from 1994 to 2014, and was Chairman of the Auckland branch of Pen/NZSA from 1982 to 1988 when he also represented the Auckland branch on the National Council.

His poetry has been appeared in most major New Zealand and many overseas poetry anthologies. Paterson has been a long-term supporter of new and developing writers and worked assiduously in promoting New Zealand poetry in North America and other countries. In 1981 he was co-winner of Auckland University’s John Cowie Reid Memorial Award for poetry and in 1993 won the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award for short stories. His anthology, Fifteen Contemporary Poets (Pilgrims South Press, 1980) was reprinted and published in America by Grove Press (New York) in 1982. He has visited the USA five times (initially as a Fulbright Fellow) where he has read, lectured and promoted New Zealand poetry. He initiated and organised the 1976 New Zealand tour of the American poet Robert Creeley. In October 2003 he spoke and read at Lauderdale House (London) and Poets’ House (New York). He is well known as a mentor of poets (in NZ and overseas) and fiction writers. In the early 1990s he was the official mentor for NZSA's Auckland branch.

Paterson is a former tertiary education officer (Inspector) with the New Zealand Education Department, Dean of General Studies New Zealand Police and Lieutenant Commander RNZN. An enthusiastic yachtsman, he has sailed and raced yachts for a large part of his life and currently (2004) owns and sails a Cavalier 32. He is both a university and an Armed Services staff college graduate.

Select Bibliography:


  • Caves in the Hills. Christchurch: Pegasus Press, 1965.
  • Birds Flying. Christchurch: Pegasus Press, 1973.
  • Cities & Strangers. Dunedin: Caveman Press, 1976.
  • The Toledo Room: A Poem for Voices. Dunedin: Pilgrims South Press, 1978.
  • Qu’appelle. Dunedin: Pilgrims South Press, 1982.
  • Odysseus Rex. Drawings by Nigel Brown. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1986.
  • Incantations for Warriors. Drawings by Roy Dalgarno. Auckland: Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, 1987.
  • Summer on the Côte d’Azur. Wellington: HeadworX, 2003.
  • Africa: //Kabbo, Mantis and the Porcupine’s Daughter. Auckland: Puriri Press, 2008.

  • Prose:

  • The New Poetry: Considerations Towards Open Form. Dunedin: Pilgrims South Press, 1981.
  • How to Be a Millionaire by Next Wednesday: A Novel. Auckland: David Ling, 1994.
  • Passant: A Journey to Elsewhere. London: Austin Macauley, 2017.

  • Edited:

  • Mate (editor, issues 22-27: 1974-78)
  • Climate (editor, issues 28-32: 1978-81)
  • 15 Contemporary New Zealand Poets. Dunedin: Pilgrims South Press, 1980.
  • Garrett on Education: A Selection of Papers by Denny Garrett. Wellington: Tutor Publications, 1984.
  • “Seven New Zealand Poets.” New Directions 46, ed. James Laughlin (New York, 1983): 78-97: including Alistair Paterson, Ian Wedde, Riemke Ensing, David Mitchell, Michael Harlow, C. K. Stead & Allen Curnow.
  • Short Stories from New Zealand. Petone: Highgate/Price Milburn, 1988.
  • Poetry NZ (managing editor, issues 8-48: 1994-2014)

  • Prizes:

  • 1982 – Auckland University's John Cowie Reid Memorial Award for longer poems (joint winner)
  • 1993 – BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award for short stories
  • 2007 – Order of New Zealand Merit

  • Online resources:

  • Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive
  • The Depot: Cultural Icons
  • HeadworX Author’s Page
  • NZ Book Council Author’s Page
  • The Poetry Archive (UK)
  • Wikipedia page

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