Meet our DIAMONDS.  These are established poets who have allowed us to do 'stuff' with their published works to build foundation and texture into KUPU.  There would be no poetry programme without these people, whose work helps to create recognisable profile, and to add credibility.  Equally, each person featured here has extended exceptional support to Palmerston North City Libraries, not only in their capacity as poets, but through many other avenues as well. 

Leonel Alvarado made Palmerston North his home in 2002, having come from the United States. His several award-winning works include the book Xibalbá, Texas, awarded the Central American Literary Award Rogelio Sinán in Panama, and his book Retratos mal hablados, which was runner-up in Latin America’s most prestigious poetry award, Casa de las Americas. Retratos mal hablados has since been co-edited in Cuba and NZ.

Leonel is an inaugural Diamond.  Three of his works were featured along with Helen Lehndorf’s in the ‘KUPU SIX’, including ‘What Stones Know’, which he gifted to Palmerston North Libraries and Community Services in 2013.  Leonel continues to be an avid supporter and collaborator on many KUPU projects, and was one of six poets to participate in 'Poets under Pressure' on National Poetry Day.

Johanna Aitchison has been living in Palmerston North for six years and has participated in community arts projects, such as: 'Black River: Poets and Printmakers' collaboration at Te Manawa in 2014, and 'Manawatattoo' poetry and print installation with local artist, Virginia Warbrick, in 2011, which showed at the Central Library. She was the 2012 Massey University and Palmerston North Community Arts Artist-in-Residence, during which time she curated the art performance installation, Turanagachairchair. Her third book of poetry, 'Miss Dust', was published in July of this year, and launched at the Living Room of the City.  Shortly Johanna will leave for the United States to participate in the International Writers Programme at the University of Iowa.

Johanna joins the Diamonds in 2015 with this year's wall installation 'Miss Dust decides to have a baby'.

Joy Green has published poetry and prose throughout her adult life. Her work has been published in magazines such as The Listener, The Lavender Room and Weird Egg and in anthologies in New Zealand, Australia, America and Europe. She has a fascination with performed poetry, and has developed work for a number of festivals and one major installation.

Joy joined forces with Leonel Alvarado and Tim Upperton to produce a limited edition poetry gem called the ‘Kete Series’, in conjunction with arthouse publisher Haunui Press in 2014.  The Kete Series was launched at the Living Room of the City, and Joy’s resulting contributions to KUPU 2014 (in the form of works published in the KUPU chapbook, and various displays of poetry) resulted in her becoming a Diamond in 2014.  Joy has also lent her support to this year's 'Poets Under Pressure', by writing two original pieces of poetry in less than ten minutes each.  Joy's poem 'Candy from a baby' was also selected for 'catch and release:  Poems from Manawatu'.

Helen Lehndorf is a Manawatu writer. Her poem ‘Wabi-Sabi’ was included in ‘Best New Zealand Poems 2011’. Her book, ‘The Comforter’, was selected for the New Zealand Listener’s ‘Best Books of 2012’ list. Helen’s work has been published widely in journals and anthologies. In 2013 she was Massey University’s Visiting Artist. Helen has participated in several collaborative art/writing projects including the ‘KUPU SIX’ at the Central Library, and ‘Black River’, inspired by Ralph Hotere’s ‘Black Rainbow’.

Helen’s contributions to the ‘KUPU SIX’ led to her becoming an inaugural Diamond.  As a result of her continuing dedication to KUPU projects she now adds Editor, and Educator to her list.

Tim Upperton’s first poetry collection, A House On Fire (Steele Roberts), appeared in 2009.  His poems have been published widely in magazines around the world, and in anthologies such as The Best of Best New Zealand Poems, Villanelles, Obsession: Sestinas in the Twenty-First Century, and 150 Essential New Zealand Poems. He won the Bronwyn Tate Memorial International Poetry Competition in 2011, and the Caselberg Trust International Poetry Competition in 2012 and 2013.

Tim became a Diamond with his contributions to the 2014 KUPU chapbook and various displays of poetry, along with Joy Green.   Tim is also contributing to KUPU 2015 with this year's second installment of wall poetry 'Spring'.