Jessie Mackay

(1864 - 1938 / Rakaia Gorge)

Biography of Jessie Mackay

Jessie Mackay poet

Jessie Mackay was a New Zealand poet.

Her parents were Scottish. She went to Christchurch to train as a teacher, and taught at small rural schools until 1898. She moved to Dunedin, and worked as a journalist for the Otago Witness. In 1902, she moved to Christchurch where she lived with her sister Georgina. In 1906, she was lady editor of the Canterbury Times.

Her papers are held by the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand. The Jessie Mackay Memorial Award for Verse is given by the PEN New Zealand.

Jessie Mackay's Works:

The Spirit of the Rangatira and other ballads.. Melbourne: George Robertson. 1889.
The Sitter on the Rail and other poems. Christchurch: Simpson and Williams, 1891.
From the Maori Sea. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1908.
Land of the Morning. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1909.
The Bride of the Rivers and other verses. Christchurch: Simpson and Williams, 1926.
Vigil. Auckland: Whitcombe and Tombs, 1935

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A Folk Song

I came to your town, my love,
   And you were away, away!
I said "She is with the Queen's maidens:
   They tarry long at their play.
They are stringing her words like pearls
To throw to the dukes and earls."
   But O, the pity!
I had but a morn of windy red
To come to the town where you were bred,

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