Robert Sullivan’s nine books include the epic poem Star Waka which has been reprinted six times, the graphic novel Maui: Legends of the Outcast, illustrated by Chris Slane, and the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year, Weaving Earth and Sky, illustrated by Gavin Bishop. His book Captain Cook in the Underworld is also the libretto for the oratorio Orpheus in Rarohenga written by well-known composer John Psathas. Among his other works, Robert wrote a poem for the front steps of the City Library with a bronze installation called ‘Kawe Reo / Voices Carry’. Before leading MIT’s School of Creative Writing, Robert was Associate Professor of English at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa where for a time he directed the Creative Writing programme.
Teaching statement: “Of your writing, as Ezra Pound said, make it new, only emotion endures. Poetry is a special medium in that it is the first and oldest form of creative writing, and so it is a foundational form which can be used across all genres. The elements of a poem—charged language, imagery, innovative syntax, personae, voiced experience, attention to sound and emotion—are useful to a greater or lesser degree for all writing. Poetry is a great way to teach the art of writing, and designing a writing life.”