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Click here for This Month's Poem
Recent publications of Karen's poetry have appeared in Landfall, JAAM, Poetry NZ, The Press, Kokako, a fine line, 100 Tanka by 100 Poets of Australia & New Zealand (Ginninderra Press, Adelaide, 2013), Poems4Peace (Printable Reality, 2014), Essential New Zealand Poems: facing the empty page eds Siobhan Harvey, James Norcliffe & Harry Ricketts (Random House, 2014), Take Back Our Sky (NZ Poetry Society, 2014).
About Karen Zelas
Karen Zelas lives and works in Christchurch, New Zealand.
When I arrive at her home, I am shown into Karen's writing room. The French doors open onto a balcony and sun and birdsong flood in. "A room of my own," she says, spreading her arms wide. "Better than papers all over the living room."
Karen tells me her first published poem appeared in the Evening Post when she was eleven and her next in The Press in 2004. In between she had a career as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist and raised a family.
"I always wanted to be a writer," she says, "but it was not until I gave up my day job that I was able to reprioritise my life and to start to use language more creatively, less encumbered by reality." She returned to university and took creative writing papers at Canterbury, applauding the standard of tuition and the flexibility of the English Department. "It opened up a new world and helped me discover what I had inside and how to let it out. It's an ongoing process."
Karen's first book of poetry, Night's Glass Table, is the winner of the 2012 IP Picks Best First Book, published by Interactive Publications, in paperback and ebook, see http://ipoz.biz/Titles/NGT.htm
She has had poetry published in Landfall, JAAM, Poetry NZ, Snorkel, Takahē, bravado, Catalyst, Kokako, Eucalypt, Pasture, The Press, blackmail press, a fine line (NZPS), Brief, Presto, NZ Rose Journal 2009, ibox and ibox unplugged; anthologies Southern Vintage (SIWA, 2006), land very fertile:banks peninsula in poetry and prose eds. Coral Atkinson & David Gregory (CUP 2008), Before the Sirocco (NZPS, 2008) and Crest to Crest: Impressions of Canterbury, prose and poetry ed. Karen Zelas (Wily Publications, 2009), across the fingerboards (NZPS, 2010), Beyond the Sirocco (NZPS, 2011); read on air; blogged by Interlitq and other poets.
She was a Guest Reader at the Canterbury Poets’ Collective Autumn Readings 2008, reading her long poem, “How Many Degrees …”, with the assistance of Frankie McMillan and Mary Fitzgerald. Two of Karen’s poems were finalists in the 2006 Takahē Poetry Competition (judge David Howard), and she was awarded a Highly Commended and a Commended in the NZ Poetry Society’s International Competition in 2008 (judge Tony Beyer). Her entry in the Manawatu Performance Poetry Competition 2010, though unplaced, is to be included in their Festival Arts Magazine in October.
Karen has recently developed an interest in Japanese forms of poetry and has had haikai and a haibun published in Kokako and haikai in bravado, tanka in Eucalypt and 100 Tanka by 100 Poets of Australia & New Zealand.
Each month, one of Karen's poems is published here for your enjoyment.
Karen’s first novel, Past Perfect, was published by Wily Publications in May 2010 and republished as an ebook by Interactive Publication, Brisbane in 2012, see http://ipoz.biz/Titles/PastP.htm The first five chapters can be read here. Her second novel, The Cut Between, is looking for a publisher.
Short fiction has been published in Takahē, bravado, Southern Ocean Review (read here); anthology Short Stories of the Waimakariri (Waimakariri Community Arts Council, 2002), and pending in the International Literary Quarterly (Interlitq). Her story, "Do Not Go Gentle" has been produced/read on Radio New Zealand.
Karen has recently returned to playwriting, her third play, Poverty and Muse, winning the 2013 Playwrights Association of NZ competition for a new script. Her second play, Geography of Loss, has been workshopped and is ready for production. Her first full length play, Colonial Vaudeville, was given a public reading in February 2007 in the then Court 2 Theatre (now The Forge) with the support of the Operate Trust.
Since February 2007, Karen has been Fiction Editor of Takahē literary magazine. She can be contacted at email@example.com
She is the editor of the anthology Crest to Crest: Impressions of Canterbury, prose and poetry (Wily Publications, 2009).
She has edited two personal memoirs.
In her former career as a psychiatrist, Karen was on the Editorial Board of The International Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect and Consulting Editor to the New Zealand Family Law Journal.
Karen is a member of The South Island Writers’ Association, the New Zealand Poetry Society, Playwrights Association of NZ.
To contact Karen click here.
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