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Reeve, Richard
Writer's File

Richard Reeve

Reeve, Richard
In brief
Richard Reeve is a poet whose work often focuses on philosophical questions. Reeve strives to convey experiences that can be felt, if not understood. He has published several volumes of poetry and his work has featured in numerous literary journals. Reeve has been the recipient of prizes and awards in recognition of his writing and he is co-founder and co-editor of the literary magazine Glottis: New Writing. 
  • Primary publisher
    Auckland University Press, Maungatua Press
  • Publicity enquiries
    Auckland University Press,; Manungatua Press,


Reeve, Richard (1976 – ) was born and grew up in Dunedin. He has a PhD from Otago University in New Zealand poetry and twentieth century continental philosophy. He is co-founder and co-editor of the literary magazine Glottis: New Writing and works for Otago University Press.

Reeve has published  four collections of poetry, Dialectic of Mud (Auckland University Press, 2001), The Life and the Dark (Auckland University Press, 2004), In continents (Auckland University Press, 2008) and The Among (Maungatua Press, 2008).

The Life and the Dark featured in the Listener's 'Books of the Year' 2004.

He has been awarded a number of prizes including the 1998 MacMillan Brown Prize and the 2002/2003 Todd Foundation Writer’s Bursary, and has had poems selected for Best New Zealand Poems: 'Ranfurly' in 2001, 'Blowflies at the bottom of a Fiordland toilet' in 2004, and 'Autumn' in 2007.

Reeves poems have been widely published in literary journals such as London Magazine, Meanjin, Rattapallax, Southerly, Landfall and Glottis.

Reeve edited Landall 212: The Capital of Nowhere.

About his poetry Reeve says: ‘Much of my poetry attempts to figure the relation between what Shakespeare termed "unaccommodated man" and the earth.

For me, poetry, however violent, tender, austere or comic, crucially enunciates that whereby the world has been revealed as an issue to us: a secret which, almost by accident, found its way into the chatter of the tallest of the apes. Because we grasp but never quite understand, and the most powerful ideas are those which are felt, my work strives first of all to be an expression of feeling.’

Writing in the Listener (August, 2004) reviewer David Eggleton comments that: ‘With young Dunedin poet Richard Reeve, language is at full stretch, almost to the point of dislocation, as he struggles to match his vision of the Otago landscape and creates in the process a kind of Otago Gothic: poems that rise up out of murk, dripping. In The Life and the Dark, his second collection, nearly every poem contains phrases to relish. The bush is a "puzzle of leaves, a shattering/of insected twigs", a fantail is a "white-winged epigraph to the rain". The intense saturation in language is itself a kind of philosophical quest.’