PANZA was saddened to hear that the young New Zealand poet Rhys Brookbanks (1985-2011) has died in the Christchurch earthquake of Tuesday, 22 February 2011.

Brookbanks, 25-years-old and a fresh journalism graduate, was a poet living in Christchurch and working in the Canterbury TV building. His poems had appeared in Deep South (2007), Takahe magazine, No. 71 (2010) and the Otago Daily Times, and he edited and wrote an editorial to the 2008 edition of Deep South, the Otago University poetry e-zine. In addition he had published articles in The Press (Christchurch) and New Zealand Books, including (with Vicki Anderson) an interview for The Press with Christchurch-born Pasifika writer and performance poet Tusiata Avia, 20 November 2010.

David Howard wrote a poem-tribute for Rhys on Beattie’s Book Blog; and a revised version of the poem appears on Words for Christchurch, the Christchurch City Libraries blog. The New Zealand Book Council also paid tribute to Rhys in their newsletter Booknotes, No. 172, Autumn 2011, including the posthumous publication of Rhys’s article on the ‘culture of book reading groups’.

PANZA offers their deepest sympathy to Rhys’s family and friends at this time.

Updated link: Scott Hamilton also pays tribute to Rhys on his Reading the Maps blog. A copy of Scott’s book, To the Moon, in Seven Easy Steps, that Rhys interviewed him about in the student newspaper Critic is held in the Poetry Archive.