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Mark Pirie’s poem included in New Zealand rugby history

In August, part of my 2011 Rugby World Cup poem was included at the start of Chapter 14 in Ron Palenski’s new definitive history of New Zealand rugby published by Auckland University Press.

It was great to see my poem quotation included but it was equally fine to see the number of historical New Zealand poets included in the book, giving a sense of New Zealand’s poetic contribution to their national game.

This may come as a surprise for some (unlike rugby songs) but as was shown with my 2010 cricket poetry anthology, there has long been a newspaper tradition in New Zealand of sports writing and commentary on games through the medium of poetry.

In academic histories or anthologies of New Zealand literature, sporting poetry is not often recognised.

It’s good that Ron Palenski has recognised this facet of the rugby game in New Zealand.

Here’s the link to the book on the publisher’s website:

Mark Pirie included in Rugby Poetry Anthology

Three of my poems were included in the recently released anthology of rugby poetry called Touchlines. It is mainly about the history of New Zealand rugby and the All Blacks.

It is a wonderful tour through historic newspapers unearthing many gems on famous rugby players of long ago i.e. the All Black Originals of 1905/06 and the Invincibles of 1924/25 up to and including recent legends like Sir John Kirwan and 2011 World Cup star Piri Weepu.

The book is edited by All Blacks historian Ron Palenski and my three poems in it are 'Scrum-feed' for Piri Weepu, 'The Cup' for Richie McCaw and 'The Wandering Bard' for poet Ernest L Eyre (a life member of the North Shore Rugby Club).

My own grandfather Tom Lawn (a club player 1919-1929) coached the North Shore Club back in 1938 with Bert Cooke, the All Black Invincible of 1924/25.

I also guest edited the Tuesday Poem blog, 30 April 2013, with an All Blacks poem by Robert J Pope from the book I recently published called King Willow.

Copies of Ron Palenski's Touchlines: An Anthology of Rugby Poetry can be purchased direct from the NZ Sports Hall of Fame, Dunedin. Price $22.00NZ. Email: [email protected] Copies can be purchased by credit card on telephone 64 3 477 7775. Website: