Collected Poems, 1951–2006

C. K. Stead

‘. . . a towering talent, cosmopolitan, lucidly intelligent. Few writers on either side of the Tasman have matched Stead’s multifaceted achievements.’ – Peter Pierce, Sydney Morning Herald


C. K. Stead is New Zealand’s most distinguished living poet. Since publishing his first poems in periodicals like Landfall in the early 1950s, he has experimented with many forms and modes – from open form, free verse, journal composition, quotation and found text to personal lyric, translation and imitation – while always bringing a strong personality, deft craftsmanship and a background of realism to bear on his poetry.

This Collected Poems includes the work of his fourteen volumes of poetry, from his first collection, Whether the Will is Free, to The Black River of 2007. In addition, it reprints 22 early previously uncollected poems that date from 1951 to 1961. Annotated by the author, the Collected Poems illustrates more than fifty years of the range and ambition of Stead’s verse, in which the world always looks ‘hard / at the word and the / word at the world’.



C. K. Stead was born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1932. From the late 1950s, he began to earn an international reputation as a poet and literary critic – his book The New Poetic (1964) has sold over 100,000 copies – and, later, as a novelist. He has published over 40 books and received numerous honours recognising his contribution to literature, including a CBE (1974), an Honorary DLitt from the University of Bristol (2001), the CNZ Michael King Fellowship (2005), the Order of New Zealand (2007) and, in 2009, the $60,000 Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction and the Montana New Zealand Book Award (Reference and Anthology) for his Collected Poems. In 2010 he won the world’s richest short story award, The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award worth £25,000, and his poem ‘Ischaemia’ won the Hippocrates Prize (open section), worth £5000.


Winner of Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Reference & Anthology Category 2009; shortlisted for BPANZ Book Design Awards: Non-Illustrated Book 2009.


November 2008, 240 x 170 mm, 500 pages, New Zealand, Australia & North America only
Hardback, ISBN 9781869404185, $59.99