This is Mark's blog.

Bareknuckle Books publishes Mark Pirie's Rock and Roll: Selected Poems

In September, my new book of selected poems in five sets, Rock and Roll, was published overseas by exciting and innovative Australian publisher Bareknuckle Books in Brisbane.

I was delighted to be included in their new Bareknuckle Poets Pocket Series, as well as in their annual anthologies that have commemorated Allen Ginsberg and Frank O'Hara, two influential poets I admire.

Rock and Roll was launched by Richard Langston (New Zealand poet and journalist) at Unity Books in Wellington, New Zealand, on 27 September 2016. This was a joint launch with MaryJane Thomson's new HeadworX book Songs of the City launched by Fiona Kidman.

At the launch I made the following comments relating to this selection:

"It was hard work putting the book together as I have around 2000 poems to select from. But I had an idea from my earlier days as a music DJ at Radio Active, to make the book like five different rock and roll concert sets, and to choose the themes that have made me more unique as a poet, poems that readers would say are distinctly Mark Pirie poems in his own voice. I chose music, film, love, sport, and Australia as my main themes, bearing in mind the Australian place of publication, too. No doubt readers will make a quite different choice of my poems if offered the chance.

I am very lucky that Bareknuckle put together an impressive cover design to complement so well the concept that I provided for them. The cover is by the artist Anthony Lister who does the artwork for their Bareknuckle Poets Pocket Series.

Finally, I would like to add that this book is in memory of the poet and editor John O’Connor who died suddenly last year, and who will be missed by the New Zealand poetry community."

Here's the link to Rock and Roll on my website:




HeadworX releases new books by Brentley Frazer and MaryJane Thomson

In August and September, my publishing company HeadworX released two new poetry books by Brentley Frazer, of Brisbane, Australia, and MaryJane Thomson, of Wellington.

Frazer's book combines major new sequences with shorter lyrical, concrete and prose poems, and gives a generational sense of what it means to be an urban Australian looking into the future. A 21st century apocalyptic howl from the cities: Aboriginal to nowhere.

Thomson’s book, Songs of the City, is the third collection by her and continues the development in her poetic since her second collection Lonely Earth. Songs of the City ranges over contemporary issues and offers a generational assessment of a technologically driven world.

I’m very pleased to be publishing both of these titles by two excellent Australasian poets.

For more details on each book, please visit the HeadworX website:

Aboriginal to Nowhere by Brentley Frazer

Songs of the City by MaryJane Thomson



Mark Pirie in Jacket2, USA

Recently, I appeared along with the Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa in Jacket2, USA, in a series of commentaries by Vaughan Rapatahana on the small press and poetry scene in New Zealand.

“One such example of sterling input is the invaluable Poetry Archive of New Zealand. As Mark Pirie points out to us, ‘I co-organise the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa (with Dr Michael O’Leary and Dr Niel Wright, the founders) collecting poets back to the nineteenth century. There are more good poets than people realize reading mainstream historical anthologies of New Zealand poetry. I have realized this fairly recently after wasted years of looking at and learning from selective, academic anthologies ever since I was a student. Since 2010, I have edited the quarterly Poetry Archive newsletter Poetry Notes. This has featured many forgotten historical New Zealand poets and presented highly original research by myself, Rowan Gibbs, Niel Wright, and Michael O’Leary. The National Library of New Zealand online research tools like Papers Past have been vital to this rediscovery of early New Zealand poetry too. Poets like Robert J Pope, Ivy Gibbs, and A. Stanley Sherratt have had their work republished.’ It needs to be made clear that these three guys receive no emolument for their earnest endeavours and do rely on donations of both funds and poetry texts to proliferate their resource, ‘so very good historical and contemporary poets don’t get missed.’ Stalwarts all, indeed.”

Vaughan Rapatahana also interviewed me on HeadworX, JAAM and publishing poetry in New Zealand and ran a poem of mine as well as mentioning my featuring of Mahinarangi Tocker in broadsheet no. 10.

It was great to be profiled so prominently overseas, and Vaughan gave me considerable understanding and recognition for my literary work.

Here are the links to Vaughan's articles:

Slam, slam ... & thank you Mams, Vaughan Rapatahana, in Jacket2 Commentaries, USA, 2015 (online).

'Small' poetry publishers and publications, Vaughan Rapatahana, in Jacket2 Commentaries, USA, 2015 (online).

A certain 'Je ne sais quoi' — Percutio with JAAM, Vaughan Rapatahana, in Jacket2 Commentaries, USA, 2015 (online).

Ngā Kaituhi Wāhine Māori — Māori Women Writers,'Vaughan Rapatahana, in Jacket2 Commentaries, USA, 2015 (online).

Winter Readings 2016

July 2016 saw the return of Winter Readings, a popular poetry event in Wellington that I co-organised with Michael O’Leary from 2003 to 2008.

A feature of these events was that Michael and I dressed up as music stars and did tributes to bands and groups that we had admired as well as promoting our recent titles as publishers (HeadworX and ESAW).

This year we did the Bee Gees, whose early work and some of their disco party anthems still resonate with me. It was nice to do a tribute to the Gibb brothers.

Those taking part at our appropriately titled Poetry Gees event were exciting new writers MaryJane Thomson and Polina Kouzminova of Wellington, along with myself, Michael, Jeanne Bernhardt (from Lawrence, Otago) and Rob Hack (Paekakariki).

A report featured on Beattie’s Book Blog, which also included the awarding of the Earl of Seacliff Poetry Prize to Jeanne Bernhardt.

I also edited a small 20-page booklet of the poets at the reading. The anthology included Niel Wright's poem on the Bee Gees first published in my journal broadsheet.

Here's the link: /books/poetry-gees