Ian Wedde

ANZL Member

Ian Wedde with Pete. Photo credit: Joanna Forsberg

Ian Wedde is the author of nine novels, sixteen collections of poetry, a collection of stories, two books of essays, a memoir, several art catalogues and a monograph on the artist Bill Culbert; his edited work includes two Penguin anthologies of poetry. He is the recipient of well over 30 major awards, including New Zealand Poet Laureate from (2011-2013), and was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the Queen’s Birthday honours list (2010). He has been awarded 14 grants, fellowships and residences, most recently the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement for Poetry (2014), and Creative New Zealand Writer-in-Residence in Berlin (2013-14). He has attended around 120 festivals and literary events nationally and internationally, in numerous capacities.

Born in 1946 in New Zealand, Ian spent part of his childhood in East Pakistan, then England. He completed an MA at Auckland University, lived in Amman, Jordan then London, returning to New Zealand in 1972 when awarded the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago. He was a poetry critic for London Magazine, art critic for the Evening Post, Wellington, and Head of Art and Visual Culture at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. He was also an adjunct senior lecturer in the Art History and English Departments at the University of Auckland.

Ian says of his poetry, ‘Most of my poems are concerned with how we live, how we should live, and are political in these senses. At the same time I think I seldom tell; I enquire’.

Ian’s latest novel The Reed Warbler (Victoria University Press, 2020) is a beautiful and rich family saga that weaves together the lives of six generations. His latest poetry collection The Little Ache – a German notebook (Victoria University Press, 2021) was written while he was researching The Reed Warbler. In Berlin and the north of Germany around Kiel, nineteenth-century ancestors whisper to him amid the clamour of history and the pleasures of daily life.



Read NZ Te Pou Muramura writer page

NZ Electronic Poetry Centre author page

The Arts Foundation artist page

Victoria University Press author page


ANZL review of The Reed Warbler (May, 2020)

Radio NZ interview with Ian Wedde discussing The Reed Warbler (May, 2020)

Spinoff review of The Reed Warbler (May, 2020)

NZ Herald review of Trifecta (Oct, 2015)

Radio New Zealand interview regarding The Grass Catcher and ideas of ‘home’ (Sept, 2014)

NZ Herald article and interview (June, 2013)

Radio New Zealand interview regarding The Lifeguard and the Berlin residency (June, 2013)

New releases by Ian Wedde

The Little Ache – a German notebook (poetry)

Published by Victoria University Press on July 8, 2021

The Reed Warbler (novel)

Published by Victoria University Press on May 14, 2020

Bibliography: Ian Wedde



The Little Ache – a German notebook (Victoria UP, 2021)

The Lifeguard (Auckland UP, 2013)

Good Business (Auckland UP, 2009)

Three Regrets and a Hymn to Beauty (Auckland UP, 2005)

The Commonplace Odes (Auckland UP, 2001)

The Drummer (Auckland UP, 1993)

Tendering (Auckland UP, 1988)

Driving into the Storm: Selected Poems (Oxford UP, 1987)

Tales of Gotham City (Auckland UP/Oxford UP, 1984)

Georgicon (Victoria UP, 1984)

Castaly (with drawings by Jeffrey Harris: Auckland UP/Oxford UP, 1980)

Spells for Coming Out (with drawings by Joanna Paul: Auckland UP/Oxford UP, 1977)

Earthly Sonnets for Carlos (with drawings by Joanna Paul: Amphedesma Press, 1975)

Made Over: Poems (Stephen Chan, 1974)

Homage to Matisse (Amphedesma Press, 1971)



The Reed Warbler (Victoria UP, 2020)

Trifecta (Victoria UP, 2015)

The Catastrophe (Victoria UP, 2011)

Chinese Opera (Victoria UP, 2008)

The Viewing Platform: a novel (Penguin NZ, 2006)

Survival Arts (Penguin NZ, 1988; Faber & Faber, London, 1988)

Symmes Hole (Penguin NZ, 1986; Faber & Faber, London, 1986)

The Shirt Factory and Other Stories (Short stories: Victoria UP with Price Milburn, 1981)

Dick Seddon’s Great Dive: a Novel (with drawings by Ralph Hotere: McIndoe, 1976)


Creative Nonfiction

The Grass-Catcher: a digression about home (Memoir: Victoria UP, 2014)

Bill Culbert: Making Light Work (Monograph: Auckland UP, NZ, /RGAP, UK, 2009)

Making Ends Meet: Essays and Talks 1992 – 2004 (Victoria UP, 2005)

How to be Nowhere: Essays and Texts 1971-1994 (Victoria UP, 1995)

Pathway to the Sea (Essays with drawings by Ralph Hotere: Hawk Press, 1975)



Picturing Asia—Double Take: The Photography of Brian Brake and Steve McCurry (edited with an essay by Ian Wedde. Hong Kong: Asia Society in association with Hong Kong UP and Columbia UP, 2016)

Cordite Poetry Review New Zealand special issue (WordPress, 2013)

We Will Work With You: Wellington Media Collective 1978-1998 (general editor Ian Wedde: VictoriaUP/WMC, 2013)

Landfall 213: Russia (With Jacob Edmond, Gregory O’Brien and Evgeny Pavlov: Otago UP, 2007)

Icons Nga Taonga (Museum general editor Ian Wedde: Te Papa Press, 2004)

Ralph Hotere: Black Light (General editor Ian Wedde: Te Papa Press/ Dunedin Public Art Gallery)

Dream Collectors: one hundred years of art in New Zealand (Te Papa Press, 1998)

Fomison, What Shall We Tell Them? (City Gallery, Wellington City Council, 1994)

Now See Hear! Art, Language and Translation (With Gregory Burke: Victoria UP for the Wellington City Art Gallery, 1990)

The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Poetry – Nga Kupu Tuitohu o Aotearoa (With Miriama Evans and Harvey McQueen: Penguin NZ, 1989)

The Penguin Book of New Zealand Verse (With Harvey McQueen; introduction and notes by Ian Wedde and Margaret Orbell, consultant to the editor: Penguin NZ, 1985)


Translated by

Selected Poems of Mahmoud Darwish (with Fawwaz Tuqan: Carcanet Press, 1973)



'...we were there as faith-based writers, as believers in the mana of Oceania...' - David Eggleton

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