This is Mark's blog.

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:

Mark Pirie publishes a book of rugby poems

I'm pleased to announce the publication of a small book of my rugby poems written between 1994 and 2013 through my imprint The Night Press.

The book is titled "Sidelights" after a rugby column of the same name in the Auckland Weekly News, 1938.

The book includes poems on the All Blacks, Super Rugby and my rugby family, including four poems on my rugby playing Grandpa Tommy Lawn and his full rugby bio inside the book.

For book details click here.

For info on Tom Lawn see my previous post

The Night Press is an imprint for my journal broadsheet, which publishes occasional hand-made chapbooks/mini books.

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: