News just to hand (well, gleaned from listening to The Arts on Sunday, so apologies if I’ve made a mistake) – judged this year by Ian Wedde, the 2009 Kathleen Grattan Award for poetry has gone to … Auckland poet, Leigh Davis, for Stunning Debut of the Repairing of a Life, a book length poem written during and after radiotherapy treatment for a brain tumour. Sadly, Leigh died in early October, and so never knew that he had won the award.
Leigh was an Auckland poet and businessman, who won the 1983 Best First Book Award with Willey’s Gazette. (Available online here, thanks to the NZ Electronic Poetry Centre.) You can read some more of Leigh’s work at his website, JackBooks; on Best New Zealand Poems 2001; and at the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive.