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Wednesday 26 April 2023 10:51am

Robyn Maree Pickens

TUNG cover websiteThe book

Tung is the keenly anticipated debut collection from award-winning Ōtepoti-Dunedin poet, Robyn Maree Pickens. Earth-centred and life-affirming, these poems offer sustenance and repair to a planet in the grips of a socio-ecological crisis.

Pickens is an eco-pioneer of words, attuned to the fine murmurings of the earth and to the louder sound and content of human languages (English, Spanish, Japanese and Finnish). She finds and draws out the beauty in both. Hers is a unique response, linguistically rich and innovative, pushing at received notions, challenging the zeitgeist, alive with innovative typographic and sonic creativity.

Tung is not afraid of new shapes or new rhythms, orchestrating a gorgeous score that testifies to the shared relationship between the human and non-human worlds. Over the roar and the din, Robyn Maree Pickens creates her sound. And it sounds like hope.


Robyn Maree Pickens is a poet and art writer who lives in Ōtepoti Dunedin. Her work has been published in numerous online and print publications in Aotearoa and beyond, including Landfall, Empty Mirror, Into the Void, SAND Berlin, Cordite and the Brotherton Poetry Prize Anthology (Carcanet Press, 2020). In 2018 she won the takahē Monica Taylor Poetry Prize, and was also a finalist in the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize judged by Eileen Myles. In 2020 she was longlisted for two US-based poetry prizes: the Palette Emerging Poet Prize and the 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest. That same year she was shortlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize (Ireland). In 2021, Robyn was placed second in the Vallum Poetry Award (Canada), and won the IWW Kathleen Grattan Prize for a Sequence of Poems. In early 2020, Robyn was awarded the Saari Residence in Finland. Robyn Maree Pickens has twice – in 2019 and 2021 – been a runner-up for the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award for a complete manuscript. She holds a master's degree in art history and a PhD in English (ecopoetics). Tung is her first published collection.

Publication details

Paperback, 230 x 150mm
ISBN 9781990048609, $25
In-store: 10 August 2023

Review and interviews

  • Tung on the New Zealand Fiction Bestseller List  (13th to 19th August) Read
  • Extract: 'Praise the warming world (Try to) extracted for Kete Books Read
  • Video: Robyn Maree Pickens reading 'Eridanus the river' for National Poetry Day Watch
  • Review: ''Pickens nimbly interleaves big-picture issues, such as the degradation of our shared environment, with fragments of intimate experience ... Tung resonates in an energising way, making the familiar strange and the strange familiar.'  Amber French reviews Tung for North & South Magazine (September Issue)  Read
  • Interview:  Robyn Maree Pickens speaks to Jeff Harford on Write Spot, OAR FM Listen
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