Chris Tse

Chris Tse is the New Zealand Poet Laureate 2022-2025. His first collection, How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes (2014), won the Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry. The collection revisits the 1905 murder of Joe Kum Yung at the hands of the racist Lionel Terry. His second book, HE’S SO MASC, explores themes of identity, sexuality and pop culture. It received critical acclaim and was included in the New Zealand Herald‘s Best Books of 2018 and The Spinoff’s 20 Best Poetry Books of 2018. His most recent collection of poetry, Super Model Minority (2022), was longlisted for the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry at the 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and was a finalist for the Gay Poetry Award at the 35th Lambda Literary Awards. With Emma Barnes, Chris co-edited Out Here: An Anthology of Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ writers from Aotearoa (Auckland University Press, 2021). Chris is the editor of The Spinoff’s Friday Poem. Te Pouhuaki National Librarian Rachel Esson described Chris’s appointment as Poet Laureate as recognition of “a poet leading a generational and cultural shift in the reach and appreciation of poetry in Aotearoa”.

2024 festival sessions

An Hour with the Poet Laureate

Chris Tse in conversation with Sally McLennan

2pm-3pm, Sat 27 July, ASB Theatre Marlborough, $25

The Poet Laureate talks about and reads from his poetry collections in which he explores questions of identity, including his Chinese heritage and queer identity, and addresses Aotearoa history. He also reflects on his time as Poet Laureate and his hopes for the power of poetry.  

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You Had Me at Poetry 

Chris Tse and Tayi Tibble in conversation with Tania Miller

8pm-9pm, Sat 27 July, Small Town Winery, 2 Horton St, Blenheim, $25

Rock-star NZ poets Chris and Tayi talk to librarian Tania about their poetry and the generational and cultural shift taking place in Aotearoa/NZ poetry.  Tayi, as wahine Maori, and Chris, a queer Chinese-NZ man, share a deep sense of purpose, a great sense of humour and a fabulous sense of fashion. Tania manages the adult collection at Marlborough Library at Te Kahu o Waipuna, but many young adults who grew up in Blenheim will remember her from the children’s library in their early reading days. All three have a not-so-hidden agenda to win over young people and the poetry-reluctant to the joys of poetry and reading in general.

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