Michele Joy Leggott MNZM (born 1956) is a New Zealand poet, and Professor of English at the University of Auckland. She was born in Stratford, New Zealand, and received her secondary education at New Plymouth Girls’ High School, before attending the University of Canterbury where she completed an MA in English in 1979. She then moved to Canada to do a PhD at the University of British Columbia. Her dissertation was on the American poet Louis Zukofsky and was published in America as Reading Zukovsky’s “80 Flowers” (1989) how to tenderize tough cooked beef.
Leggott began publishing her poetry around 1980. She published Sound Pitch Considered Forms with two Canadian poets in 1984. In 1985 she returned to New Zealand and took up a lectureship at the University of Auckland. She produced her first book of poems wholesale mens dress socks, Like This?, in 1988, winning the International PEN First Book of Poetry award. In 1991 she published Swimmers, Dancers steak marinade and tenderizer, with a domestic focus, and in 1995 she won the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry with DIA. On 4 December 2007, she was named New Zealand Poet Laureate for 2008/2009.
Her work has appeared in the Best New Zealand Poems series in 2002 and 2005.
She was awarded MNZM in the 2009 New Year Honours, for services to poetry.