Poet Laureate

David Eggleton Poet Laureate 2019 – 2022

 David Eggleton image2

“I have always got my ear to the ground to hear the tones of the moment and how people feel about things. I tap into those and turn them into rhythm and rhyme.” (David Eggleton, Stuff 22/08/2022)

Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature is proud to celebrate David Eggleton and the triumph of his tenure as Poet Laureate (2019 – 2022). David has generously given so much to us all in these challenging times and he has come up with many exciting ways to entertain and share his poetry with the world.

Described as a “beatnik bop poet, a freestyling surrealist and lyrical word-spinner rhyming to a rhythmic beat”, David began his illustrious career reciting his poetry at rock music gigs in the early 1980s. Challenging contemporary popular culture David presents his poetry in as many media contexts as possible. His works have featured in murals, on film, on T-shirts, in window displays, have been written on pavements and included in art gallery exhibitions.

David who is of Rotuman, Tongan and Palagi ancestry, grew up in Fiji and South Auckland before moving to Otepoti Dunedin. David was editor of 'Landfall' between 2011 and 2018, and he is a noted arts reviewer who won the ‘Reviewer of the Year Award’ six times at the New Zealand Book Awards.

His first collection of poems, South Pacific Sunrise was co-winner of the PEN Best First Book of Poetry Award in 1987. His seventh collection of poems, The Conch Trumpet, won the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Poetry. when he also received the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Poetry. His latest collection The Wilder Years: Selected Poems (Otago University Press, 2021) is a hardback compendium of the poet’s own selection from 35 years of published work, together with a handful of new poems.

On World Poetry Day 2022, Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature was proud to showcase ‘Time of the Icebergs’, a film by David and Richard Wallis (© gcm mEDIA hOUSE) that is rich with verbal and visual references to Ōtepoti.  Cities of Literature World poetry day 2022.mp4 - Google Drive

Credit for Photo of David is Scattered Seeds, Dunedin Public Libraries.

The Pantograph Punch - The Sea is My Mother 

What poet David Eggleton wanted to know was, what was New Zealand culture anyway? Now Poet Laureate, David reflects on his legacy, and writing anti-poetry.

New Zealand Poet Laureate Blog


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