Migrant Poets - Poetry Reading and Writers Talk

Migrant Poets – Poetry Reading and Writers Talk

A public programme for Carving Water Painting Voice

Monday 10th December, 11.30am
Edmiston Gallery

Join poet Riemke Ensing and special guests in this public programme for Carving Water Painting Voice.

Writing in response to their experiences of migration the poets will read pieces of their work followed by informal Q+A.

Poets include:

Riemke Ensing
Alexandra Balm
Peter Bland
Renee Liang

All welcome to this free event. Pre-registrations required as spaces are limited.

The event will take place in the exhibition in Edmiston Gallery

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Carving Water Painting Voice is Kazu Nakagawa’s collaborative installation which investigates themes of human migration and identity. Find out more here.



Riemke Ensing

Riemke Ensing taught as a Senior Tutor at the University of Auckland for thirty years. She has written 12 books of poetry, including Talking Pictures – selected poems. She was a Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellow and received the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for a distinguished contribution to New Zealand Poetry in 2012. Her volume Storm Warning – after McCahon was set to music by Alex van den Broek and premiered at the Christchurch Word Festival 2014. One of her poems was included in Shaky Places – essential NZ poems set to music – performed at Poetry Festivals both in Wellington and Auckland. She has won several poetry competitions and her work is published both locally and abroad and represented in many anthologies. She has frequently written for Art New Zealand and produced a number of art catalogues. She has worked with artists in the productions of her books, especially Tara McLeod of The Pear Tree Press on whose work she has written an essay for a forthcoming volume of his work edited by Lesley Smith. Her most recent volume was a signed limited edition from The Pear Tree Press entitled ‘If only’.  Claire van Vliet of the Janus Press in Vermont has begun work on a selection of her New Zealand West coast poems.

'Ensing has her own voice and eye and frame of reference in her poetry, and the Dutch origins are a significant factor in this uniqueness, contributing a European quality which has made an increasingly rich mix with a range of New Zealand ( and other ) elements..’ - Lawrence Jones

'The most striking and original characteristic of her poetry is its extremely visual quality … a whole system of connections on an international as well as a historical level, suggesting that it is above all through art that the lines of communication are kept open.’ - Simone Oettli, University of Geneva, in World Literature Today, Spring 2001

Alexandra Balm

Alexandra teaches and lives in Auckland. She has published poems, short stories, and academic articles. She was the first to use the concept of metamodernism in Europe, New Zealand and  Australia.  Alexandra was born in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, a Transylvanian town that used to be a Roman castrum in antiquity, then a medieval fortress and a modern multicultural city with a Romanian majority and significant German, Hungarian, Roma and Jewish minorities. She always loved rivers and the sea. As a young person she dreamed to have a house by the sea, which came close to being a reality when she moved to NZ. In 2006 she was offered a PhD scholarship at the University of Otago, where she wrote about the metamodern as a cultural paradigm the dominant of which is the ethical, as in care for the other and for the self, and its reflection in literature. Writing is for her a way of bridging the gaps between experience and innocence, reality and imagination, living in a state of exile and a sense of home. 

Peter Bland

Peter Bland was born in North Yorkshire in 1934 and emigrated to New Zealand in 1954. Bland is a poet and actor, whose writing commits to an everyday sub-urban sense of reality, often exploiting the framework of the dramatic monologue. He has a distinguished place in New Zealand theatre history as co-founder of Wellington's Downstage Theatre and its artistic director 1964–68. He has worked as a stage and television actor and several of his own plays have been produced. Bland has published a large selection of poetry volumes in New Zealand and the UK and his memoir was released in 2004. He lives in Auckland and has just published his Selected Poems for Children.  

Renne Liang

Renee, a second-generation Chinese Kiwi, is a poet, playwright, paediatrician, medical researcher and fiction writer. Renee is a multidisciplinary artist, having written in many genres including short and long fiction, poetry, theatre, non fiction, blogging and arts journalism.  She has also collaborated on visual arts works, film and music, produced and directed theatre works, worked as a dramaturge, taught creative writing and organized community-based arts initiatives. In 2017 she made her foray into musical writing as a librettist for Auckland Arts Festival commissioned The Bone Feeder opera (with composer Gareth Farr) and as lyricist and book writer for Dominion Rd The Musical (with composer Jun Bin Lee). Her interactive digital game with Allan Xia, Golden Threads, commissioned by Auckland Museum for their current exhibition Being Chinese in Aoteroa, was recognised at the Play by Play Awards 2017 with an award for Representation and was then exhibited in China as part of two digital festivals. She also co-wrote the script For The Light, a short film by Steven Chow, selected to screen at the NZ International Film Fesitval 2017. 

She holds a Master of Creative Writing and a Post Graduate Diploma in Arts (Theatre Writing) from the University of Auckland, a medical degree and a specialist qualification as a paediatrician. For her activities in arts, science and medicine, Renee was named a Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader in 2010. She won the Royal Society Manhire Prize in Science Writing for Creative Non-Fiction in 2012. Her play The Quiet Room was shortlisted for the Adam Play Award in 2013, won the teen section of Playmarket’s Plays For The Young in 2014, and SWANZ award for Best Play in 2016. Under The Same Moon was a finalist in the SWANZ Best Play Awards in 2015



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