Mark Pirie

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Mark Pirie (born 30 April 1974) is a New Zealand poet, writer, literary critic, anthologist, publisher, and editor. He is best known for his Generation X New Zealand anthology The NeXt Wave, which included an 8,000 word introduction (1998),[1] the literary journals JAAM (Just Another Art Movement) and broadsheet, a book cover photo series of tributes to famous rock albums,[2] and the small press HeadworX Publishers in Wellington, New Zealand. He has authored or edited more than 40 of his own books and published more than 50 books with HeadworX, including work by well known New Zealand poets Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, Harry Ricketts, Alistair Paterson, Riemke Ensing, Tony Beyer, Harvey McQueen, Andrew Fagan, Richard Von Sturmer and the Israeli author/painter/diplomat Moshé Liba.


Born in Wellington, Pirie’s father was a diplomat and Pirie was educated first in America at a Jewish kindergarten and Town School for Boys in San Francisco (where his father was serving as a Consul-General), before moving back to New Zealand to attend Wadestown Primary School. He next attended Wellington College (1987–1991).

He has a BA (Hons) in English from Victoria University of Wellington and an MA from the University of Otago. His thesis was on the New Zealand poet and editor Louis Johnson, a writer who shares similarities with Pirie's work.[3]

He lives in Wellington and works as an editor for the Department of Internal Affairs.

Literary output[edit]

Pirie is a prolific author and publisher, with over 100 titles listed in the National Library of New Zealand. Many are published under his own imprints HeadworX Publishers and The Night Press, Wellington or through the Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop in Paekakariki.[4]

The main influences on his literary development were listening to popular music, blues and jazz at an early age. His poetry draws on film, music and pop culture elements.[5]

His critical writings focus on New Zealand poetry, covering mainly contemporary and some historical New Zealand writers.

He has published essays, interviews and reviews on numerous New Zealand writers including Katherine Mansfield, James Brown, Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, George E. Dewar, Ivy Gibbs, Rev. J. H. Haslam, Hone Tuwhare, James K. Baxter, Barry Southam, Peter Olds, James Norcliffe, John O’Connor, Robert J.Pope, Harvey McQueen, Alan Brunton, Jenny Bornholdt, Kate Camp, Lauris Edmond, Gregory O’Brien, Geoff Cochrane, David Eggleton, H. W. Gretton, Sam Hunt, Dinah Hawken, Mark Young, Bernard Gadd, Frank Pervan, Ursula Bethell, L. E. Scott, Andrew Fagan, Louis Johnson and musician Charlotte Yates.

Among the international authors he has written on or interviewed are Ee Tiang Hong (Malaysia/Australia), Richard Berengarten (UK), Edgard Telles Ribeiro (Brazil), Basim Furat (Iraq/New Zealand), Ken Bolton (Australia) and John Kinsella (Australia).

The literary journals he has edited are JAAM (1995–2005),[6] an international journal based in Wellington, and broadsheet: new new zealand poetry (2008-), a magazine in chapbook form focusing on quality poetry and scholarly features on New Zealand poets as well as republishing an historical interview with the late American poet Robert Creeley.

He has edited a major critical-historical book on Michael O’Leary, The Earl is in: 25 Years of the Earl of Seacliff (2009), as well as selected works by New Zealand poets F. W. Nielsen Wright, Simon Williamson, Harry Ricketts and the Iraqi-New Zealand poet Basim Furat.

From 2003-2004 he was involved with organising the Wellington International Poetry Festival with Ron Riddell and Saray Torres. HeadworX published the first two anthologies of the festival.

Pirie's own published works include numerous collections or anthologies of poetry (one of them being a hand-made book The Bet: Poems in Memory of Jim Morrison - American Poet), a verse novel TOM (2009)[7] and a collection of short stories, Swing and Other Stories (2002). His poetry was first featured by Alistair Paterson in Poetry NZ 16 (1998).

In 2003, his selected poems, Gallery, was commissioned by Australian poet John Kinsella and published by the international publishing house Salt Publishing in England.[8]

In 2008, he was included in the anthology New New Zealand Poets in Performance,[9] and in 2009, he co-edited with Tim Jones the first anthology of New Zealand Science Fiction poetry, Voyagers (Interactive Press, Brisbane). The collection was listed in the Best 100 Books of 2009 in the New Zealand Listener and in August 2010 won a Sir Julius Vogel Award in the "Best Collected Work" category.

Since 2010 he has been involved in setting up and running the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa with Michael O’Leary and Niel Wright.

Pirie's most recent work is the major cricket poetry anthology A Tingling Catch: A Century of New Zealand Cricket Poems 1864-2009, drawing on 145 years of New Zealand cricket poetry. The book contains a foreword by eminent cricket historian Don Neely and a cover painting by well-known English cricket painter Jocelyn Galsworthy.

Pirie's poetry and his editing of HeadworX books and JAAM literary magazine is listed and mentioned in Harry Ricketts and Paula Green's 99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry (Auckland, N.Z., Random House, 2010).

Publications by Mark Pirie[edit]

A selection of Mark Pirie’s books


  • New Zealand Writing: The NeXt Wave, University of Otago Press, Dunedin, New Zealand, 1998.
  • Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand, with Tim Jones, IP, Brisbane, Australia, 2009.
  • The Earl is in…: 25 Years of the Earl of Seacliff, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, Paekakariki, New Zealand, 2009.
  • Rail Poems of New Zealand Aotearoa, Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa, Wellington, New Zealand, 2010
  • ‘A Tingling Catch’: A Century of New Zealand Cricket Poems 1864-2009, HeadworX, Wellington, New Zealand, 2010.


  • Shoot, Sudden Valley Press, Christchurch, New Zealand, 1999.
  • No Joke, Sudden Valley Press, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2001.
  • The Blues, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, Paekakariki, New Zealand, 2001.
  • Dumber: Poems, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, Paekakariki, New Zealand, 2003.
  • Gallery: A Selection, Salt Publishing, Cambridge, UK, 2003.
  • Poems for Poets: Dedications and Elegies, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, Paekakariki, New Zealand, 2004.
  • London Notebook, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, Paekakariki, New Zealand, 2005.
  • Sounds of Sonnets, with Michael O'Leary, HeadworX Publishers, Wellington, New Zealand, 2006.
  • TOM: A Novel in Verse, Poets Group, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2009.


  • Swing and Other Stories, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, Paekakariki, New Zealand, 2002.


  1. ^ Charles Briffa, World Literature Today, Summer 1999, USA, pp. 604-605; Sarah Quigley, 'Checking out Gen X', New Zealand Books, vol. 8, no. 5, December 1998, pp. 16-17; Lydia Wevers, 'Talking about GenX', in Telling Stories: Postcolonial Short Fiction in English edited by Jacqueline Bardolph, Rodopi, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2001, pp. 379-387; Michelle Cruickshank, ‘Write the Wave’, Pavement, April/May 1998, p. 42 & Andrew Johnston, 'Mark Pirie's Excellent Adventure', Sport 21, Spring 1998 [1]
  2. ^ Guy Somerset, ‘Cover artists’, Dominion Post, 5 December 2007, p. E3
  3. ^ F. W. Nielsen Wright, Mark Pirie as Romantic Satirist, Cultural and Political Books, Wellington, 2003.
  4. ^ F. W. Nielsen Wright,Supplementary Bibliography to Mark Pirie as Author, Publisher, Editor, Cultural and Political Booklets, Wellington, 2010.
  5. ^ Pat Prime, ‘An Interview with Mark Pirie’, Stylus Online Poetry Journal, Australia, 2003, and in Takahe 50 (Summer 2004) pp. 57–60.
  6. ^ F. W. Nielsen Wright, A Comparison of JAAM and Brief as the two leading literary magazines in Aotearoa since 1995, Cultural and Political Booklets, Wellington, 2004.
  7. ^ Siobhan Harvey, Review of TOM: A Novel in Verse, Takahe 69 (2009), p. 45.
  8. ^ Iain Sharp, ‘Whizz kid’, Sunday Star-Times, 7 December 2003. p. 31.
  9. ^ Jan Kemp & Jack Ross (eds.), New New Zealand Poets in Performance, Auckland University Press, Auckland, 2008, includes CD sound recording of Mark Pirie.

External links[edit]

  • Mark Pirie's personal website [2]
  • New Zealand Book Council Profile [3]
  • HeadworX Publishers web site [4]
  • Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa [5]
  • Mark Pirie's full bibliography [6]

For a complete listing of Mark Pirie’s works, see the online catalogue of the National Library of New Zealand [7]