It is with sadness that I note the passing of Sir Vincent O’Sullivan, co-patron of the New Zealand Poetry Society.


Vincent was a much-loved poet of Aotearoa who contributed richly to our literature in multiple fields, including Katherine Mansfield Studies, New Zealand literature, fiction, drama, and as a major anthologist of New Zealand poetry and fiction.

His achievements will endure. His poetry, among many things, contributed to our sense of self as people who value the inner life, while examining the materialistic life with a wry eye when in the presence of poetically genuine human values.


I am thinking of the title poem in Vincent’s collection ‘Seeing You Asked’ and the unfolding of stories within its lines through the dazzling stacking and unstacking of imagery until we reach the deepest end:


There is something like the glint of a hook,
there is something, love, in that shimmering

vault, trolling too fast to speak of.


Vincent raised up poems as treasure for us all. He hauled them out from the depths, as a son of New Zealand, using our voice.


It was an honour to have Vincent as a patron and we thank him for his valuable guidance and contributions to the New Zealand Poetry Society.


Moe mai rā e te rangatira. E kore rawa koe e warewaretia i a mātou. Rest in peace, our rangatira. We will not forget you.


Our condolences to his family at this time.


Robert Sullivan

President of the New Zealand Poetry Society / Te Rōpū Toikupu o Aotearoa