Shift, a collection of poems by Rhian Gallagher, published by Auckland University Press, has won the 2012 NZ Post Book Award for Poetry.
Shift encompasses a departure from London, where Gallagher lived for 18 years, and a return to the pines and paddocks of her native South Island. It was described by convenor of judges Chris Bourke as an example of lyrical poetry at its very best.
‘The poems offer elegance, mysteriousness, musical harmonies, satisfying quietness and subtle emotions. Sounds and themes stitch the collection with an assured and unifying touch. You fall upon little autobiographical traces in the shadows, traces that are both moving and intense.’
Rhian’s editor at the Press, Anna Hodge, said, ‘To Rhian Gallagher, “return is an instinct” and we are thrilled that, after many years away, she has sealed her return to this country by taking out the NZ Post Book Award for Poetry. Shift is a book of slow burn and quiet intensity that reveals Rhian as a writer of huge talent, craft and warmth. Her very proud publisher Auckland University Press offers delighted congratulations.’
Auckland University Press poet John Adams also collected his 2012 NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for the Best First Book Award of Poetry, for his book Briefcase, at the NZ Post Book Award ceremony. Briefcase began life as a manuscript written for a Masters in Creative Writing at The University of Auckland. The winners of the best first book awards were announced at the end of May.
The winners of the four NZ Post category awards and the Māori Language Award receive $10,000 and the author of the book of the year, chosen from the category winners, receives $15,000. Winners of the three best first book awards receive $2,500 each.