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David Eggleton Home Page

David Eggleton lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. He is a writer and a performance poet, and has performed his work in many venues to all kinds of audiences, both in New Zealand and overseas. His first collection of poems, South Pacific Sunrise (Penguin Books), was co-winner of the PEN Best First Book of Poetry Award 1987. He was the 1990 Burns Fellow at Otago University.

Eggleton was a judge in the 1997 Montana-New Zealand Book Awards, and poetry category advisor in the 1998 Montana-New Zealand Book Awards. He won the inaugural Book Reviewer of the Year Award in 1991 and the Book Reviewer of the Year Award in 1997, and has been short-listed in 1995, 1996, 1998, and 2000. He was judge of the 1999 Whitireia Poetry Award and judge of the 2000 Takahe National Poetry Competition. He has had several collections of poetry published and is included in anthologies of New Zealand poetry.

He is acknowledged in the Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature for promoting poetry as popular entertainment and embodying the conflicts and combustions within a vibrant young culture.

David Eggleton

Two Poems by David Eggleton
Psycho-active swimmer of lightning trees;
coral brain uprooted and flung fathoms deep;
Old Testament prophets in frenzied working bee:
a split-second light strobe to eye the storm.
Spat-pip pluck-pluck, hot steam-iron splutter,
luminous purple-velvet magic marker scribbles;
unearthing creeks, the thing flowers into a riddle,
kicking at the chook-house with a kung-fu foot.
Draped silver mystery trains under frothy veils,
pearl wedding showers with thunderclap assortments,
sea-brides peeling off down cloud aisles
to meet a southerly buster rolling up the coast.
Rain so warm it oozes, a no-let-up guzzle,
watertank downpour backwards out from plugholes;
rain of the Pacific writing maritime testimonials,
filling volumes in libraries of soaked verandahs.
Overturned waterglass, empty mould of wetness,
invisible skeins, fine-spun needles of nothing,
matting downy arms, trickling between eyelashes,
falling hard; whipping up rain until it tingles.

Republic of Fiji
Fringed by salt-water lace, the abandoned ship
British Empire drifts through Isles of Amnesia,
awaiting colonial mutual evaluation.
A shell roars inside the sea, calling to islands,
and islands surface like turtles in the rain:
rain white as mosquito net, white as grated coconut,
white as the helmets of ex-Governor-Generals.
Rain white like the walls of Suva city jail -
walls which hold bloody hibiscus, bruised mango,
and crims who blow smoke at a dead volcano.
Orchids nod to sermons of the wet season;
jungle is green ink bleeding into sludge.
Rain erases the movie of 'the great outdoors':
that soaked brouhaha of palm-trees threshing
in a mare's nest of tradewind tales and trails,
as coconuts arc like basketballs for the hoop,
with earth ovens tropical plunder steaming.
Today the only colour bar is scar joining scar,
while anthill streets relay a taboo beat to
the black swish of Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna's sulu.
Suva's sweatshop sews all into one sharkskin
when the call of Shark-god pounding grog begins.
Muddy kava slurped from a coconut bowl
drives us further into earth at each small go.
It is land-divers free-falling to Pentecost;
it is skull-binders bound for Vanuatu;
it is rafts of pumice fragments floating to Fiji;
it is a World War Two submarine still undersea,
its encrusted fire coral and brain coral battery
lighting up the Pacific with republican dreams.
The red eye of the Cobra coil burns to nothing.
Degei spits a gob of gold into the sky over Nadi,
and knocks heads of gods together, sucks out sap.
He shoulders a coconut sack, walks to market,
as if hauling an island along the horizon.
Around reefs black and white sea-snakes spiral.
The bula boys' shirts are prayer flags in neon;
their thatch roof a top hat; Krishnaís bus their chariot,
carrying them on firewheels whose spokes are knives,
along dirt roads where cane fields escalate into fire.

20 September 2015 Interview with David Eggleton (From

11 May 2016 David Eggleton's "The Conch Trumpet" wins Ockham New Zealand Book Award for poetry

3 July 2017 David Eggleton awarded Fullbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writers' Residency

23 August 2019 David Eggleton named New Zealand Poet Laureate 2019-2021


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