Best New Zealand Poems 2001


Jan Kemp


JAN KEMP was born in Hamilton in 1949. She returned to New Zealand in 1999 after 25 years as an expatriate, teaching English-as-a-foreign-language and writing and performing her work in Australia and the Pacific, Canada, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and finally Germany, where she studied German and Italian literature at the University of Frankfurt. Her latest publications are The Sky’s Enormous Jug: Love Poems Old & New (Puriri Press, May 2001) and Only One Angel (University of Otago Press, December 2001.) She took part in the WOW Tour 2002 to the Waikato and is participating in the New Zealand Poetry Society’s Northern Lights tour of the northern South Island in early May 2002 and in the Going West Festival in September.

Of “Elephant Riding” she says: “There we were, walking along a footpath in New Delhi when, amongst all the traffic, along came an elephant. I couldn’t resist asking if I could have a ride on it — well, what would you do if an elephant, unladen, came alongside? Both the mahout and the elephant were most obliging — he made her kneel down for me to get up onto her back. And, of course, we offered to pay him and I did so admire her, a working creature with such a gentle spirit. The hardest word to find was an adjective to describe her trunk!”



New Zealand Book Council writer page

University of Otago Press