Sam Duckor-Jones is an artist, sculptor and poet based in Greymouth. He graduated with an MA in creative writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017. As an artist, he has exhibited his work with Bowen Galleries, Wellington, regularly since 2006 and has participated in numerous group exhibitions across Aotearoa.
His first published book of poetry, People from the Pit Stand Up (2018) is an illustrated collection. The collection deals with art-making, place, isolation and intimacy, and was called ‘bloody fantastic’ by the beloved John Campbell. The Spinoff named it one of the best poetry books of 2018, describing it as “both mysterious and physical, and very good looking: the generous white space accommodates ideas, hungers and feelings to the point you get goosebumps as you read.”
Sam won the Biggs Poetry Prize from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017. His poetry has been featured in the Best New Zealand Poems 2018, Turbine | Kapohau and the Spinoff, and he served on the board of the Featherston Booktown festival.
In 2018, he worked with Eketahuna Primary School through the Writers in Schools programme.
His second book of poetry, Party Legend, was published in 2021. The central sequence of the book, as he describes, is that he had decided that he did not want to be a poet-artist any more and in 2019 enrolled in a science degree.
In 2021, Duckor-Jones bought St Andrew's Church in Greymouth, and has since converted it into a "queer place of worship"; a sculpture, named Gloria. The structure was built by the Anglican Church in 1939 but had fallen into disuse by 2000, and was deconsecrated in 2018.
An interview with Sam at RNZ