Some Things to Place in a Coffin
Bill Manhire's first new collection of poems for seven years takes its title from his elegy for his close friend the painter Ralph Hotere, who died in 2013. At its heart is the sequence 'Known Unto God', commissioned by the BBC for the centenary of the Battle of the Somme in 2016. These are poems of memory and mortality, which are also full of like and jokes and good tunes. Some Things to Place in a Coffin is published simultaneously with Tell Me My Name, Bill Manhire's new poetry + photographs + CD collaboration with composer Norman Meehan, singer Hannah Griffin and photographer Peter Peryer.
Bill Manhire was born in Invercargill in 1946 and educated at the Universities of Otago and London. For many years he taught at Victoria University, where he founded the International Institute of Modern Letters, which is home to New Zealand's leading creative writing program. He is now Emeritus Professor of English and Creative Writing at Victoria, and was recently UNESCO Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. He lives in Wellington, New Zealand. Bill is best known as a poet. He received the Prime Minister's Award for poetry in 2007. In 1997 he was made New Zealand's inaugural Poet Laureate. In 2005 he was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and in in the same year was named an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate. He holds an honorary Doctorate of Literature from the University of Otago and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Bill is especially well known for his collaborative work: in particular with the artist Ralph Hotere; with the physicist Sir Paul Callaghan; and with the composer Norman Meehan. Bill's work with Norman Meehan has led to the publication of the albums Buddhist Rain and Making Baby Float, and the book + album These Rough Notes.