Peter Olds

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New Zealand poet Peter Olds, photographed in Dunedin, October 2014

Peter Olds (born 1944) is a New Zealand poet. He was born in Christchurch, and was a Burns Fellow at the University of Otago, Dunedin in 1978. Freed the poetry magazine 1969–72 published him, and he was a central figure to the younger poets of the 1970s. Influences on his poetry include American rock'n'roll and the beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac of the 1950s, and his experiences in psychiatric institutions. Olds currently lives in Dunedin.

He left school at 16, and began writing in 1966. His first volume of poems was Lady Moss Revived (1972), followed by V-8 Poems (1972), The Snow and the Glass Window (1973), Freeway (1974), Doctor’s Rock (1976) and Beethoven’s Guitar (1980). His published broadsheets include Exit: 2 Poems (1971), Schizophrenic Highway (1971), The Habits You Left Behind: Poem (1972), and Schizophrenic Rhino (1972). He replied to his friend James K. Baxter's poem Letter to Peter Olds (1972) with his Doctor’s Rock.


  • Robinson, Roger; Wattie, Nelson (1998). The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature. Oxford University Press. p. 413. ISBN 0-19-558348-5.