Michele Amas (Writing for the Page, 2005)

The course demands you focus, but not in a navel-gazing way. It asks that you look and participate, it's not a solitary year by any means.

Michele writes: 'For me the course offered the chance to "give over to what you love". A nine-month window of opportunity to step out of myself and make time to write. There is an intimacy and collective consciousness of the writers you work with, in a space that radiates a respect for creative thinking. If writing excites you the IIML offers the perfect clandestine meeting place. You are surrounded by writers who are working, not just talking about working, there is an energy about the place, it seeps out of the walls, asks you to open doors you are not familiar with, encourages discovery. The course demands you focus, but not in a navel-gazing way. It asks that you look and participate, it's not a solitary year by any means.'

Bio: Michele Amas (1961-2016) came to poetry with script-writing and directing credits to her name, as well as a career as an actor. Michele won the Adam Prize for the best folio produced in her MA year, and her first collection of poetry, After the Dance, was published by Te Herenga Waka University Press in 2006.

The book was acclaimed by reviewers. Douglas McNeill in New Zealand Books praised the 'sharp intelligence that can transform domestic life into rewarding poetry without slipping into the traps set by sentimentality.' Fellow poet Bernadette Hall has also commented on the role of the family in this collection; 'ground for muscular conflict, unflinching commitment, devotion, betrayal and rage.'

After the Dance was shortlisted for the Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for poetry in 2007. It also earned Michele a nomination for the 2008 Prize in Modern Letters.

Michele was published in various journals, including Sport, Turbine, Landfall, the Iowa Review and Kaupapa New Zealand poets. Her poem 'Daughter' was selected for Best New Zealand Poems 2005 and The Best of the Best Anthology 2011. She was the winner of The Wellington sonnet competition 2008 and was a Caselberg Trust prize winner for 2011.

In 2014 her play, The Pink Hammer, a comedy-drama, was premiered at Centrepoint Theatre in Palmerston North. It has since been staged at the PumpHouse Theatre in Auckland in 2016, and at the Court Theatre in Christchurch and Wellington's Circa Theatre, both in 2019.

Walking Home (Te Herenga Waka University Press, 2020) gathers together some of the last poems written by Michele. Jenny Bornholdt called the collection 'sharp-witted, tender, at times heart-wrenching...' And Paula Green, in NZ Poetry Shelf, said: 'This is an astonishing book. Quiet, raw, physical, getting deep into the truth of things.'

Read more: