29 May 2009
Poetry plasters New Zealand and Nashville
Poster poems will soon be plastered across 13 centres in New Zealand and in Nashville, Tennessee, as part of an
initiative by a national poster company.
Phantom Billstickers has produced A1 posters featuring poems by New Zealand poets Tusiata Avia and James Milne (aka
Lawrence Arabia) and by Tennessee poets Jeffery McCaleb and Michael White.
On Tuesday 2 June the poem posters will be placed nationwide – Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth,
Gisborne, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill —as well as in Nashville.
New Zealand’s inaugural Poet Laureate, University of Auckland Associate Professor of English Michele Leggott, will help
launch the initiative in Auckland. She will paste the first poster poem, written by Samoan-New Zealand poet Tusiata
Avia. Tusiata will read the poem in front of a public gathering that will include students from Michele’s Poetry Off the
Page class and the Masters of Creative Writing paper, James Milne, and University of Auckland poets and academics Selina
Tusitala Marsh and Lisa Samuels.
Over the next six months, four poets will be “exhibited” monthly as part of Phantom Billsticker’s commitment to
supporting emerging and established poets. Forthcoming poets to be “postered” include Michele Leggott, David Eggleton,
William Direen, Otis Mace, Kevin Fraher and Hilaire Campbell.
“In these tough times, we wanted to put some beauty and thoughtfulness back into the streets of New Zealand,” says Jim
Wilson, head of Phantom Billstickers, Ltd. “We are particularly proud of our national poets, both known and emerging,
and we want to help spread their words so everyone can enjoy them.”
“I welcome any effort to promote the beauty, playfulness and power of poetry, particularly when it helps take poems off
the page and into the consciousness of people going about their daily lives,” says Michele Leggott.
The first poster will be pasted at 12pm on 2 June at a Phantom Billstickers site on Auckland’s Queen St, opposite the
Britomart Centre. Refreshments will be provided. All welcome.