Weston, Tom

Weston, Tom



In Brief

Tom Weston is a poet and barrister. He has published several collections of poetry including Small Humours of Daylight (2008) and Naming the Mind Like Trees (2004). His latest volume of poetry is Only One Question (Steele Roberts, 2014). He has also published poetry in a range of journals, magazines and anthologies.


Weston, Tom (1958–) is a poet and barrister. He was born in Christchurch where he grew up, and later attended the University of Canterbury 1978–81. His principal occupation has been as Queen's Counsel.

Weston’s poetry collections include, What is left behind (2017), Only One Question (2014), Small Humours of Daylight (2008), Naming the Mind Like Trees (2004), The Ambiguous Companion (1996). Joanna Braithwaite’s paintings have featured in several of his collections.

Hugh Roberts, for theNZ Listener, wrote of Naming the Mind Like Trees: ‘Tom Weston’s poetry is, for me, a visceral experience that I can’t fully explain. As I read it I get a knot in my stomach. One feels in every line the presence of a powerfully alert mind that is fully engaged with real and serious matters; it’s a little like watching a surgeon performing a delicate operation.’

Graham Brazier wrote about Small Humours of Daylight in the NZ Herald: ‘Each time I search for a favourite poem in this book, it is eclipsed by another, so I choose stanzas, small twigs of verbal beauty as in the opening of ‘The Unprepared Mind’ – ‘The western island is furthest from land a place of shrubs and grasses only, a holy place, devoid of adultery.’

His writing has been published in numerous literary journals, magazines and anthologies, and his poem, ‘Traffic Noise' features online in Best New Zealand Poems 2008.

Michael Steven, writing in Landfall Review, said of Only One Question: ‘If Allen Curnow was the stony and austere godhead of New Zealand literary modernism, then Tom Weston (along with his close contemporary David Howard) are tending to the altar, counting the mala beads, and ensuring the continuation of the elder’s example. It is something of a study, to observe how Weston is able to sustain the seriousness of the task – the poem-as-act-of-sacred-communion – without ever breaking down into didactic sermonising or self-consciousness parody.’

A poem from this collection, 'The Old Dog' appears online on the Best American Poetry blog.

What is Left Behind was long listed for the Ockham Book Awards 2018. Siobhan Harvey, in the NZ Herald, described it as a “stunner”. Chris Tse, in the Landfall Review said: ‘The fantastic long sequence ‘Crossing over’ is a meditation on how grief can settle in our lives… This poem is an excellent example of Weston’s technical abilities and the emotional balance that informs much of his work, where the intellectual examination of his chosen themes is offset by recognisable human responses.’


Updated January 2017.