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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October In New Zealand

O JUNE has her diamonds, her diamonds of sheen,
Meet for a queen’s neck, if Death had e’er a queen!
June has her blue days, jewels of delight,
Set in the ivory of Alp-land white,—
But October, October’s the lady o’ the year!

O January’s garland is redder than the rose,
And the wine-red ruby of January glows

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