A cruise ship
passenger exploring Dunedin was the inspiration for an
award-winning poetry book and the city deserves international
recognition for its literary past, New Zealand Poet Laureate
Vincent O'Sullivan says.
O'Sullivan, of Dunedin, won the poetry category and $10,000
for his book Us, then at the New Zealand Post Book Awards in
Wellington on Wednesday night.
The win was ''gratifying'', O'Sullivan said from Wellington
''You put a lot of effort into a book so when something like
this happens it's quite a pleasant occasion.''
The recognition gave ''a confirmation you're not wasting your
time and confirms poetry does still have some relevance in
The judges - Miriama Kamo, Dick Frizzell, Kim Hill, Elizabeth
Smither and Peter Simpson - said O'Sullivan's work got
''better and better''.
''There are poems in Us, then that leave something on the air
that feels like human longing, the brevity of life, its
incongruities and fleeting beauty,'' the judges said.
Although, Dunedin was not the focus of the book, it
contained references to the city, O'Sullivan said.
''There's one about seeing someone off a cruise ship and just
wondering about their lives. There are several poems with
geographic references to places like beaches on the
peninsula, to the harbour.''
Dunedin's ''literary past'' justified its inclusion as a
Unesco City of Literature.
Dunedin City Council arts and culture group manager Bernie
Hawke said an application had been submitted to designate the
city a literary centre, alongside Edinburgh, Melbourne, Iowa
City, Dublin, Reykjavik, Norwich and Krakow.
The outcome of the bid would be announced on November 30.
Mr Hawke said the council would have ''another crack'' if the
bid was unsuccessful.