Vana Manasiadis is a poet, creative writing teacher and active member of the New Zealand poetry community. She is the author of Ithaca Island Bay Leaves (Seraph Press, 2009) and the editor and translator of Shipwrecks/Shelters (Seraph Press 2016). She is also the co-editor of the Seraph Press translation series. A graduate of the International Institute of Modern Letters, Manasiadis’s significant poetry has been published in multiple New Zealand anthologies and literary magazines.
Manasiadis, Vana (1973 - ) is a poet, creative writing teacher and active member of the New Zealand poetry community. She was raised in Wellington and attended Victoria University, where she graduated with a BA(HONS) in 1995 and a Master in Creative Writing in 2005 with the IIML. In-between she has worked as a secondary school teacher, an English teacher and an editor and translator in Athens, and is currently both a lecturer in academic literacy and Creative Writing tutor at Auckland University of Technology. Manasiadis has lived and travelled widely across Europe, with 10 of the last 15 years spent living in Greece. She currently resides in Auckland.
Manasiadis’s debut collection Ithaca Island Bay Leaves: A Mysthistrima was published by Seraph Press in 2009. Exploring the forms and flux of her family’s history within the movements of figures from ancient history, Ithaca Island Bay Leaves seamlessly weaves Manasiadis’s Greek heritage with her New Zealand experience. Manasiadis describes the genesis of her collection as an oscillation between ‘moving and movement . . . home and time . . . people’s desire and ability to adapt and re-invent themselves, to settle or not settle’ (Interview with Tim Jones, 20 April, 2010). Harry Ricketts in 99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry (Vintage, 2010) admires Manasiadis’s bold interplay between the ‘Greek mythology with everyday life in Wellington’ and the ‘exquisite craftsmanship of the printmaker clearly matched by the detailed finesse of the poet.’ Well reviewed, Paula Green in The New Zealand Herald noted that she ‘lingered on each page to absorb the deliciously fresh lines and the nimble sound effects.’ Julia Cooper in the Lumiere Reader called the collection ‘a masterful debut,’ and Dame Fiona Kidman titled the collection as ‘significant’ in the history of New Zealand literature.
Manasiadis is the editor and translator of Shipwrecks/Shelters, a hand-bound bilingual chapbook published by Seraph Press in November 2016. In this volume Manasiadis gathers and translates six poems by six of Greece’s most exciting contemporary poets: Lena Kallergi, Theodore Chiotis, Phoebe Giannisi, Patricia Kolati, Vassilis Amantidis and Katerina Ilopoulou. The collection is defined as bringing the poets’ ‘fresh, urgent words from one homeland to another’ with Manasiadis describing her wish to translate poems that epitomise the ‘backwards and forwards movement between light and dark’ within current Greek poetry. The collection ends with a poem translated into te reo Māori.
Manasiadis poetry has been published in multiple anthologies, including 99 Ways into New Zealand Poetry (Vintage 2010), Essential New Zealand Poems: Facing the Empty Page (Godwit, 2014) and Words that Matter: 10 Years of Seraph Press (Seraph Press, 2014). Selected poems have also appeared in literary magazines Sport, Turbine, Poetry New Zealand, Sweet Mammalian, Takahē, JAAM, and also the Dominion Post.
She regularly reads her poetry, including at Vic Books in Wellington on New Zealand Poetry Day, and at ‘Lounge’ in Auckland. In 2016 she judged Emerging Voices: Divine Muses Poetry Competition at the Gus Fisher Gallery in Auckland. She was a speaker and reader at the Ruapehu Writers Festival in March 2016 and in Wellington’s 2016 Lit Crawl, in ‘Poly-lingual Spree: Poetry in and out of Translation.’
Manasiadis is also the co-editor of the Seraph Press Translation Series, founded in 2016 to bring to a New Zealand audience contemporary poetic voices from languages other than English, and to make connections with literatures and writers from other parts of the world. These hand-bound chapbooks are gorgeous bilingual tasters of something fresh and new.
Regular updates can be found on her website.
Media and Links
- Manasiadis’s website
- Seraph Press shipwrecks/shelters
- Seraph Press Ithaca Island Bay Leaves
- Lumiere Reader Review
- Radio NZ Interview – Turmoil in Athens
- Radio NZ – Manasiadis discusses Ithaca Island Bay Leaves
- Tim Jones Interview
- Academy of New Zealand Literature ‘Letter from Crete’
Updated June 2017.