Bush, Rachel

Bush, Rachel



In Brief

Rachel Bush published several collections of poetry, and her writing has appeared in numerous New Zealand journals and anthologies. She was longlisted for the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for her collection, Thought Horses, which was published posthumously in 2016.


Bush, Rachel (1941-2016) was a poet whose work appeared in numerous journals including Sport, Landfall and Faber's Introduction. Until 2003 she was a teacher of English at a secondary school in Nelson.

Cilla McQueen praised The Hungry Woman (Te Herenga Waka University Press (THWUP), 1997) for its 'wry sense of humour,' describing the book as 'a beguiling mixture of poetry, diary extracts and short prose pieces, which are firmly grounded in New Zealand.'

'Bush's writing is superbly natural and alive,' writes Hamesh Wyatt. 'She grabs the first opportunity to be sensationally creepy, disturbing and frightening.'

The Hungry Woman is based on work completed while Bush was a member of the first MA course in creative writing at Te Herenga Waka.

The Unfortunate Singer (THWUP, 2002) extends the themes of The Hungry Woman. The book is a mixture of poetry, diary extracts and short prose pieces. Bush draws on Seraphine Pick paintings for some of her inspiration. She writes, 'the images in Seraphine Pick's painting are both odd and familiar: I like this combination. A poem too, can be an act of love for something known or something dreamed about.'

Rachel Bush's poetry collection Nice Pretty Things (THWUP) was published in 2011.

Thought Horses (THWUP, 2016) was described by Paula Green, 'this collection exemplifies everything I love about poetry — eye and ear animate the line, the poetic heartbeats. Along that bridge between printed page and the reader, the activity is vital.'

Rachel Bush passed away in March 2016, one month before the publication of Thought Horses. The collection was longlisted for the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.


  • Interview with Rachel Bush for Nelson Mail
  • Review of Thought Horses on Stuff

Updated June 2022.