David Howard

ANZL Member

Photo credit: Dean Nixon

Born in Christchurch (1959), David Howard is a poet and co-founding editor of takahē magazine. He describes his writing as ‘gnarled, metaphysical poetry which fosters rather than forbids tenderness.’

David has published several collections, including The Incomplete Poems (Cold Hub Press, 2011), which was 35 years in the making. Poems from his last four volumes have appeared in Best New Zealand Poems. He edited A Place To Go On From: The Collected Poems of Iain Lonie (Otago University Press, 2015), which was named an outstanding book of the year. David has collaborated with the photographer Fiona Pardington, and the composers Brina Jez Brezavscek, Marta Jirackova, and Johanna Selleck.

As well as co-founding the Christchurch literary journal takahē in 1989 (with Sandra Arnold), he also co-founded the Canterbury Poets Collective (1990). A quarter of a century later, both have become literary institutions. Dr Richard Reeve observed that ‘today’s poetry in the South would be very different without David Eggleton, David Howard and Cilla McQueen.’

David’s honours include the NZSA Mid-Career Writers Award (2009), University of South Pacific Poetry Prize (2011), Robert Burns Fellowship at Otago University (2013), Otago Wallace Residency (2014), UNESCO Residency in Prague (2016), and the Ursula Bethell Residency at Canterbury University (2016). His collection The Ones Who Keep Quiet was shortlisted for the Kathleen Grattan Award (2016). He has read at the International Poetry Festival in Granada Nicaragua (2009), and Goronovo Proljece 53, Croatia (2016). In 2019 David was  chosen by the Ulyanovsk UNESCO board to be one of the first two participants of the Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature Residency Programme. He used this time to develop a poetic sequence set in Ulyanovsk, as well as to collaborate with a local composer on a musical setting for his texts. He performed results of his work at a presentation at the end of the stay in Ulyanovsk.

In 2021 from New York, Asia Society, in association with the Iowa International Writing Program, hosted an evening of invited readings ‘Voices From Burma: Poets of No Name’ in support of the Burmese writers killed or arrested following the military coup. David participated in these readings alongside, among others, US Poet Laureates Joy Harjo and Robert Hass and Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek.

David is a professional pyrotechnician who has worked as SFX supervisor for acts such as Janet Jackson and Metallica.



David Howard’s website

Read NZ Te Pou Muramura writer page

New Zealand Society of Authors writer page

New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre author page (with publications and biography)

Youtube: ‘Voices From Burma: Poets of No Name’ David Howard reading begins at 1:28:40 (June, 2021)

Read David’s poem ‘Fitting’ in Best New Zealand Poems 2020 (March, 2021)

ʌᴎterratypa interview with David discussing New Zealand and Russian literature [in Russian but easily translatable] (Nov, 2019)

UNESCO media release on David in Slovenia and his libretto for the 2019 December chamber opera Water Globe (July, 2019)

Otago Daily Times article on David’s UNESCO Ulyanovsk residency announcement (April, 2019)

New England Review of Books interview with Vlad Savich (May, 2018)

Bibliography: David Howard



The Ones Who Keep Quiet (Otago UP, 2017)

The Speak House (Cold Hub Press, 2014)

You Look So Pretty When You’re Unfaithful To Me (Holloway Press, 2012)

The Incomplete Poems (Cold Hub Press, 2011)

Beyond What Is Said To What Is (Cold Hub Press, 2010)

The Word Went Round (Otago UP, 2006)

Shebang (Steele Roberts, 2001; online edition Trout Press, 2006)

How To Occupy Our Selves [with Fiona Pardington] (HeadworX, 2003)

Holding Company (Nag’s Head Press, 1995)

In the First Place: Poems 1980-1990  (Hazard Press, 1991)



Own Kind (ed. Siobhan Harvey: Godwit, 2009)

New Zealand Poets in Performance (ed. Jack Ross & Jan Kemp: Auckland UP, 2008)

Land Very Fertile (ed. Coral Atkinson & David Gregory: Canterbury UP, 2008)

Swings + Roundabouts (ed. Emma Neale: Godwit, 2008)

A Good Handful (ed. Stu Bagby: Auckland UP, 2008)

Painted Poems (ed. Eion Stevens: Longacre Press, 2007)

Shards of Silver (ed. Paul Thompson, Steele Roberts, 2006)

New Zealand Love Poems; An Oxford Anthology (ed. Lauris Edmond: Otago UP, 2000)



A Place To Go On From: The Collected Poems of Iain Lonie (Otago UP, 2015)

'I felt energised by the freedom of 'making things up’' - Maxine Alterio

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