Jenny Bornholdt is a poet and anthologist. Her poetry has been praised for its freshness and concealed depths. The author of numerous collections, Bornholdt was the winner of the 2002 Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship and received the 2003 Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award. In 2005, she became the fifth Te Mata Estate New Zealand Poet Laureate. Bornholdt is married to poet Gregory O’Brien, with whom she has edited several anthologies, and critics have noted the sense of an ongoing conversation across their respective work.
An Anthology of New Zealand Poetry in English, edited by Jenny Bornholdt, Gregory O'Brien and Mark Williams, received the Montana Poetry Book of the Year award at the 1997 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
These Days was published in March 2000.
Bornholdt was the winner of the 2002 Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship. Her poetry in Summer, published in 2003 by Victoria University Press, record the experiences of her family through the summer when she held the Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship in Menton, France. Summer is warm, witty, engaging and accomplished. The superb cover is by award-winning designer Sarah Maxey, and the line drawings are by poet, essayist, artist (and Jenny's husband) Greg O'Brien.
'Jenny Bornholdt is one of New Zealand's best-loved poets. She allows her poems to immerse themselves in marvellous details of everyday life. Constantly through the years she has served up poems rich in anecdote and incident... Jenny writes about all the important things in life: love, sex, family and memories. Summer is another slim volume full of shimmering lovely thoughts... Summer is full of mellow magic.' Otago Daily Times
Bornholdt was a recipient of one of the 2003 Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Awards.
In 2005, Jenny Bornholdt became the fifth Te Mata Estate New Zealand Poet Laureate. Administered by the National Library of New Zealand and funded by the New Zealand Government, the Poet Laureate is selected biennially and receives an award of $50,000 per year.
The Colour of Distance New Zealand Writers in France, French Writers in New Zealand was published in 2005 by Victoria University Press and co-edited by Gregory O'Brien.
Bornholdt had a poem included in Shards of Silver (Steele Roberts, 2006), a book investigating the interplay between photography and poetry.
The Rocky Shore, published by Victoria University Press in 2008, is an autobiographical collection of poetry. The collection was awarded the Montana Medal for Fiction at the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
Jenny Bornholt was the 2009 Victoria University Writers' Fellow. She was also interviewed by Harry Ricketts in the anthology, Words Chosen Carefully, edited by Siobhan Harvey (Cape Catley Ltd, 2010).