New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre logo with artwork by Richard Killeen

New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre: 20 years online

The New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre went live 20 years ago on 20 July 2001, making it one of the country’s longest-running online poetry hubs.1

The nzepc was billed as the `electronic gateway to poetry resources in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the Pacific region.’ From its early days, it featured established and emerging poets, and included poetry and poetics, audio and video, essays, interviews and links to archival resources. The striking artwork of Richard Killeen gave it a strong visual presence.2

Professor of English Michele Leggott initiated the project after being inspired by a similar site at the State University of New York, Buffalo. Leggott secured support from the poetic community and the Faculty of Arts, Te Tumu Herenga and Auckland University Press, and developed the site with poet and digital librarian Brian Flaherty and a multi-disciplinary team.1

Twenty years on, the richly-layered site serves as a teaching resource, repository and community hub. Later innovations include the e-journal ka mate ka ora and the ongoing tapa notebook project, in which poets are given tapa-covered notebooks to fill with `poetry or other notations’ and then return to Special Collections for archiving and display on nzepc.3

Special Collections is marking two decades of the nzepc with a display that highlights its history, including its official launch celebration at Live, Local & International – the first of many associated performance events. It also showcases the vibrant and diverse works the nzepc continues to represent online.

Jo Birks and Katherine Pawley, Special Collections

1 (2001, November). Poetry on-line. The University of Auckland News, 31(10), pp.6-7. NZ Glass Case 378.95 A89n

2 nzepc.

3 New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre. Records. MSS & Archives 2003/4, Special Collections.

Feature image: From Handbook, Richard Killeen, Workshop Press, 1993.