Riemke Ensing was born in Groningen, The Netherlands, in 1939. With her parents she immigrated to New Zealand at the age of twelve in 1951. At this stage of her life she spoke no English. She went to school first in Dargaville, then to Ardmore Teachers’ Training College, after which she taught for two years, returning to the College to lecture in English literature for a year. She again became a fulltime student and on graduating M.A.(Hons) in 1967, was appointed as a tutor in the English Department at the University of Auckland, where she taught till 1999. She has since been appointed an Honorary Research Fellow (Faculty of Arts) and in 2002 was a Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellow. Her poetry is represented extensively in anthologies and her work has appeared in many publications both in New Zealand and overseas.
‘Ensing has her own voice and eye and frame of reference in her poetry, and the Dutch origins are a significant factor in this uniqueness, contributing a European quality which has made an increasingly rich mix with a range of New Zealand ( and other ) elements..’
‘Ensing’s fascination with art pervades her work, providing her with a significant European / Antipodean matrix.’
The Cambridge Guide to Women’s Writing in English
‘The most striking and original characteristic of her poetry is its extremely visual quality … a whole system of connections on an international as well as a historical level, suggesting that it is above all through art that the lines of communication are kept open.’
Simone Oettli, University of Geneva, in World Literature Today, Spring 2001