Michele Amas was a poet, had a background in performing arts, and worked as an actor and director for theatre, television and radio. Her first collection of poetry, After the Dance, was published in 2006. Dougal McNeill writes about this collection, ‘Amas is disarmingly funny … and has the sort of sharp intelligence that can transform domestic life into rewarding poetry’. Amas won and was nominated for a number of distinguished literary awards, and her writing has been published in key journals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amas, Michele (1961-2016) was a poet and actress. Born in Dunedin, Amas moved to Wellington in 1982 and graduated from the New Zealand Drama School in 1984. She worked for twenty years as an actor and director for theatre, television and radio. Amas completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Victoria University in 2005.
Also in 2005, Amas received the Adam Prize in Creative Writing for her collection of poems, The Angle of Clouds. The prize is awarded annually to the best portfolio in the MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University, convened by Bill Manhire.
Amas’ first collection of poetry, After the Dance (VUP, 2006), contains poems written for her Masters in Creative Writing, for which she was awarded the Adam Prize for best portfolio.
Writing about the collection in a speech to launch the book, poet Bernadette Hall commented that: ‘In Michele’s poems the domestic, the family, is a ground for muscular conflict, unflinching commitment, devotion, betrayal and rage. It takes honesty and emotional strength to explore this small, particular personal history, which is also the history of community.’
Dougal McNeill also comments on the domestic theme in Amas’ poetry in New Zealand Books (Issue 78, Winter 2007). 'Amas is disarmingly funny … and has the sort of sharp intelligence that can transform domestic life into rewarding poetry without slipping into the traps set by sentimentality. She stretches personal experience until it can cover aspects of the social and thus avoids the limitations of so much verse of this kind.'
After the Dance was shortlisted for the NZSA Jessie Mackay Award for first best book of poetry in the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards (now the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards). It was also nominated for the 2008 Prize in Modern Letters.
Amas published poems in Sport 34, Iowa Review, turbine 05, 06 and 07. Her poem ‘Daughter’ was selected for Best New Zealand Poems 2005.
Michele Amas passed away in December 2016.
MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS
Updated January 2017.