Author photo: Ebony Lamb
James Brown’s poems have been widely published in New Zealand and overseas. He describes himself as 'a Sunday poet who fell in with the wrong crowd'.
James's most recent poetry collection is The Tip Shop (2022), and his Selected Poems were published in 2020. Previous books include Floods Another Chamber (2017); Warm Auditorium (2012); The Year of the Bicycle (2006), which was a finalist in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2007; Favourite Monsters (2002); Lemon; and Go Round Power Please (1996), which won the Best First Book Award for Poetry. His poems are widely anthologised and frequently appear in the annual online anthology Best New Zealand Poems.
James has been the recipient of several writing fellowships, including the 1994 Louis Johnson New Writers Bursary and a share of the 2000 Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship.
In 2001 he was the Canterbury University Writer in Residence, and in 2002 he was one of four New Zealand writers shortlisted for the inaugural Prize in Modern Letters. James was the Victoria University of Wellington Writer in Residence in 2004.
He edited The Nature of Things: Poems from the New Zealand Landscape (Craig Potton, 2005), the literary magazine Sport from 1993 to 2000, and Best New Zealand Poems 2008.
More recently, in 2018, James created what he calls 'a transcribed poem' out of Herbert Morrison's famous radio commentary of the Hindenburg disaster: 'Hindenburg: a transcribed poem'.
In 2019, Alan Gregg, formerly of the band the Mutton Birds, turned two poems from Floods Another Chamber into songs: 'Shrinking Violet' and 'Peculiar Julia'.
James lives in Wellington and works as an editor and teaches the Poetry Workshop at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.