Photo credit: Simon Woolf
Wellington poet Diana Bridge has published seven collections: Landscape with Lines (1996), The Girls on the Wall (1999), Porcelain (2001), Red Leaves (2005), Aloe & Other Poems (2009), In the Supplementary Garden: New and Selected Poems (2016) and in June 2019, Two or more islands. She was awarded the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award (2010), and won the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize (2015). Chief judge and Irish poet Vona Groarke, described her work as ‘possibly amongst the best being written anywhere right now – for the arresting composure of the poems, for their reach and depth…for the beauty of their phrasing…for the way they catch you up short and make you wonder’. Her essay ‘An attachment to China’ won the Landfall Essay Competition (2014).
In 2015, Diana was invited to take up a residency at the Artists’ Colony at Yaddo, New York, the first New Zealander to attend since Janet Frame. She was included in the Australian series The Writing Talks run by Deakin University (2003), and was one of eight Commonwealth poets invited to the biennial Conference for the Association of Commonwealth Literatures in Hyderabad, India (2004). She participated in the Auckland Writers Festival in 2013 and 2015.
Diana has lived in London, Singapore, Beijing, Canberra, Hong Kong, New Delhi and Taiwan. She has a PhD in classical Chinese poetry from the Australian National University, and has studied early Indian art history. She is the first foreigner to have taught in the Chinese Department at Hong Kong University.
Diana’s seventh collection Two or more islands (Otago UP) contains poems that navigate vast spaces and examine their subjects intently through diverse lenses. They reflect her immersion in the cultures of China and India, her scholarship in English and classical Chinese poetry, and her exploration of multiple mythologies. The result is an intricate meshing of realities with a remarkable depth and richness of perspective. Literary icon Vincent O’Sullivan describes Two or more islands as ‘a collection quite unlike almost any New Zealand poetry I can think of, one that makes its own totally justifiable demands as it achieves a level of rare impressiveness’.
New Zealand Book Council profile page
NZ Electronic Poetry Centre poet page
Poet Laureate blog with readings (April, 2014)
Review of In the Supplementary Garden: New and Selected Poems in The Hindu (June, 2017)