This is Mark's blog.

ESAW Publishes Mark Pirie’s Sevens rugby poem collection

Delayed from December 2020, my latest collection of rugby poems, Sevens, was published by Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop in March 2021.

It presents 7 new poems written since the publication of Sidelights in 2017. Included is a sequence of poems ‘Three All Black Greats’ in honour of several of New Zealand’s finest rugby players: Christian Cullen, Julian Savea and Jerome Kaino.

An addenda features seven other rugby related poems I have recently been sent or have published as an editor/publisher. Poets included are Tony Beyer, Margaret Jeune, Jane Matheson, Bill Sutton and C A J Williams.

The book constitutes a seven-a-side game, two halves of seven poems each or two sides made up of seven poems each.

Mark Pirie publishes NZ Rugby Museum article

The Winter 2018 issue of Poetry Notes, the newsletter of the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa (PANZA), included my article on poetry archived at the New Zealand Rugby Museum in Palmerston North.

The article covers a range of poetry kept by the museum from the turn of the 20th century up till the present day.

I am very pleased to have my article published. It involved a field trip to Palmerston North in June 2018 and some work uncovering the poems from folders stored away in boxes at the Museum.

In May I was also an invited contributor to the first NZ Rugby Jamboree held in the foyer entrance to the Museum. I set up a table to sell my rugby poetry and other sports poetry items.

The New Zealand Rugby Museum do a great job keeping the history of New Zealand’s game alive for the public.

Thank you to the Director, Stephen Berg, for his help locating the poems for the article.

Here's the link:

HeadworX releases new books: rugby poetry and On Edge by Damian Ruth

In November, my publishing company HeadworX released two new poetry books: On Edge by Damian Ruth and Sidelights: Rugby Poems.

On Edge is the first collection of Damian Ruth's poetry and is compiled over many years of his writing life. Damian Ruth's book is a fine addition to the HeadworX stable and contains poems first published in respected literary journals and anthologies in South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand.

Sidelights: Rugby Poems is a new edition of my rugby poems first published in 2013 and dedicated to my grandfather Tommy Lawn, a rugby player and coach in New Zealand. This new edition features new rugby poems from the past four years and is accompanied by writer and historian Ron Palenski's foreword.

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

On Edge by Damian Ruth

Sidelights: Rugby Poems by Mark Pirie

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: