Helen Heath

ANZL Member

Helen Heath lives on the Kapiti Coast, Wellington. Her poems, essays, articles and reviews have appeared in a range of Australasian journals, magazines and anthologies. Her debut collection of poetry, Graft (VUP 2012), was published to critical acclaim. Graft won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book for Poetry award in 2013 and was the first book of fiction or poetry to be shortlisted for the Royal Society of NZ Science Book Prize, also in 2013. The poems in Graft attempt to bring things together – ideas and cultures, people. Sometimes there are unlikely pairs: science and magical thinking, fact and fiction, myth and history. They dig away at things, trying to find a truth or an answer or a lost person.

Helen holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Victoria University. Her thesis explores how contemporary poetry can actively participate in the interpretation of scientific or philosophical ideas – allowing public engagement with cultural dialogues. Her most recent collection of poems, about the intersect between people and technology, Are Friends Electric? (VUP, 2018) won the Mary & Peter Biggs Award for Poetry at the 2019 Ockham Book Awards. The poems in Are Friends Electric? investigate how we incorporate technology into our lives and bodies. In a series of speculative poems on grief, Heath asks how technology can keep us close with those we have lost. How might our experiences of grieving and remembering be altered?



Helen’s website

Helen on Twitter

Read NZ Te Pou Muramura writer page

Victoria University Press Helen Heath

Landfall review of Are Friends Electric? (Sept, 2018)

NZ Listener review of Are Friends Electric? (Aug, 2018)

Audio: interview on Better Off Read discussing Are Friends Electric?  (July, 2018)

Audio: Off the Tracks interview discussing writing, kids, numerous topics and Are Friends Electric? (July, 2018)

Audio: Helen reads two poems from Are Friends Electric? on NZ Poetry Shelf (June, 2018)

Cordite review of Are Friends Electric? (June, 2018)

Booksellers NZ review of Are Friends Electric? (June, 2018)

Radio NZ interview: Helen discusses Are Friends Electric? with Mark Amery on ‘Standing Room Only’ (June, 2018)

Radio NZ review of Are Friends Electric? by Harry Ricketts on ‘Nine to Noon’ (May, 2018)

Reid’s Reader review of Are Friends Electric? (May, 2018)

NZ Listener review of Graft (July, 2013)

Landfall review of Graft (Feb, 2013)

Bibliography: Helen Heath


Are Friends Electric? (Victoria University Press, 2018)

Graft (Victoria University Press, 2012)

Watching for Smoke (Poetry chapbook: Seraph Press, 2009)


'Does historical fiction allow an escape from reality or promote a confrontation with it?' - Thom Conroy

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