[Photograph: Jan Kemp (2002)]
Ian Wedde (b. 1946)
Contemporary New Zealand Poets in Performance (2007):
Earthly: Sonnets for Carlos 31
Earthly: Sonnets for Carlos 32
Earthly: Sonnets for Carlos 35
Aotearoa NZ Poetry Sound Archive (2004):
1. To the poet Nigel Roberts in Sydney
2. A Transport Disaster
3. The Drummer
4. To my twin brother
5. To Donna’s young dogs
6. To Autumn
7. The bottle of oil I was late sending John
8. Barbary Coast
New Zealand Poets Read Their Work (1974):
LP 1, side 2
Waiata Archive (1974):
from Earthly: Sonnets for Carlos – 31
from Earthly: Sonnets for Carlos – 32
from Earthly: Sonnets for Carlos – 33
from Earthly: Sonnets for Carlos – 34
from Earthly: Sonnets for Carlos – 35
from Earthly: Sonnets for Carlos – 36
The Gardener’s Messages
I Could Settle for That
Bio / Bibliography:
Although born in Blenheim (1946), Ian Wedde spent most of his childhood overseas, first in East Pakistan, and then in Britain. Returning to New Zealand in his mid-teens, Wedde attended King’s College, Pakuranga, and the University of Auckland, from which he graduated MA (Hons.) in English in 1968. While a student at Auckland, he began publishing his poetry in literary journals, and in his final year was editor of the New Zealand Universities Literary Yearbook.
Upon graduating, Wedde left the country on overseas experience, living 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.
From 1975 to 1977, he was, along with Alan Brunton and Murray Edmond, involved in editing and contributing to Spleen, a magazine that combined interviews (many of which Wedde conducted, although they were published unsigned) with political and social commentary, visual arts, and poetry. 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 issues (1975’s Pathway to the Sea was a long protest-poem addressing the proposed aluminium smelter at Aramoana, on the Otago Peninsula) and the experimental literary movements coming out of the United States, such as the ‘Black Mountain School’ in poetry. 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, in part a conscious dialectic with Allen Curnow, who had written the introduction to the earlier (1960) edition, dealt with such issues as canonization, landscape, gender, race, and the possibilities and limitations of a ‘national style’ in poetry. In 1989, he co-edited the Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Poetry.
During the mid- to late-1980s, Wedde was art critic for the Evening Post. This led to a change in focus, with both his professional and critical attention shifting increasingly towards the visual arts. He began working as a curator, and in 1994 was appointed Concept Leader for Art at the new national museum, now Te Papa. After producing little poetry during the 1990s, a return to writing in 1999 saw the eventual publication of The Commonplace Odes in 2001, Wedde’s first collection of poetry in eight years. He has so far produced ten collections of poetry, one book of short stories, three novels, and one book of essays, as well as numerous gallery catalogues.
Homage to Matisse (London: Amphedesma Press, 1971).
Mahmoud Darwish: Selected Poems. Trans. Fawwaz Tuqan and Ian Wedde (Cheadle: Carcanet Press, 1973).
Made Over: Poems (Auckland: Stephen Chan, 1974).
Earthly: Sonnets for Carlos (Akaroa: Amphedesma Press, 1975).
Pathway to the Sea (Christchurch: Hawk Press, 1975).
Spells for Coming Out (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1977).
Castaly: Poems 1973-1977 (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1980).
Georgicon (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1984).
Tales of Gotham City (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1984).
Driving Into the Storm: Selected Poems (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1987).
Tendering (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1988).
The Drummer (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1993).
The Commonplace Odes (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2001).
Three Regrets and A Hymn to Beauty (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2005).
Good Business: New Poems 2005-2008 (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2009).
The Lifeguard: Poems 2008-2013 (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2013).
Selected Poems (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2017).
The Little Ache – a German notebook (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2021).