"Riddell’s great strength is his positive view of human existence."
- Capital Times

Ron Riddell

A selection of publications by Ron Riddell are now available for purchase on the site.

Poetic Pilgrimage to Central America PDF Print E-mail
May the 18th, Thursday.

I've been up since 3.30am, battling a winter cold and an intermittently functional internet connection with colleagues in El Salvador and Costa Rica. The biggest challenge at the beginning of this particular poetic mission is that my connecting flight from Los Angeles to San Salvador leaves at 1.35 am, on the morning of the same day, some nine hours before my flight from Auckland is due to touch down on the hallowed ground of the U.S.A.

"No hay problema," says Pablo Benitez, on his crackling Salvardorean cell phone. He is one to it and will have emailed me a new ticket by the time I touch down in Auckland, later the same morning. Listo. Muy bien. I'm heading back to

Latin America. My Colombian wife, Saray Torres, says I must be strong! I'm sitting in the main pavilion of Wellington Airport, which bears the title, "Wild at heart", barely awake, my eyes streaming, thinking she might be right.

Monday, the 12th of June, 2006. I am sitting in the gathering twilight at San Jose International Airport, Costa Rica, waiting for the early evening flight which will take me back to Los Angeles, via Guatemala - the first leg of my journey home to New Zealand, after nearly a month on the poetic trail in Central America. I have just said my goodbyes to my good friend, Norberto Salinas, Costa Rican poet and director of The Costa Rican International Poetry Festival. And now I am returning home, with my batteries charged, with my health restored a thousand-fold.

This has been the fifth year of the festival. It has been a great honour for me to share the podium here with some Latin America's leading poets, including Ernesto Cardenal, Nicaragua, Raul Zurita, Chile, Vicente Muleiro, Argentina, Claribel Alegría, El Salvador/Nicaragua and Antonio Ramirez, Puerto Rico. Ten days ago during the festival, my new book, Raukura, which is dedicated to Te Whiti O Rongamai and the people of Parihaka, was launched during the festival here. Published by La Casa de Poesia, Costa Rica, it has had a rousing reception, with poems like "Blue Yellow/Azul Amarillo" and the title poem, "Raukura," being particular favourites with audiences.