National Poetry Day Celebrated with Record Events

Published: Thu 15 Jul 2010 04:41 PM
National Poetry Day Celebrated with Record Number of Events
From rap artists and performance poets to poetry slams and 24-hour poetry marathons, Friday 30 July marks a vintage year for National Poetry Day with more events than ever before happening throughout the country.
From Whangarei to Dunedin, Poetry Day is a unique opportunity to hear some of our best-known poets share their work. Poetry stars Sam Hunt, Michele Leggott, Kevin Ireland, Albert Wendt, Jenny Bornholdt, and Poet Laureate Cilla McQueen are among the line-up in more than 50 events planned around the country.
Established in 1998, National Poetry Day has grown to become one of the most anticipated events on the arts calendar. This year’s winner of the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry, Selina Tusitala Marsh, will perform in Auckland and New Zealand Post Book Awards Poetry Category finalist, Michael Harlow, will take part in Dunedin’s Poetry Evening.
National Poetry Day isn’t just for established poets, it’s for people who simply want to give poetry a go. So if you harbour a desire to perform a piece of your own, this is the day to throw caution to the wind.
National Poetry Day Coordinator, Siobhan Harvey, says the reason for poetry’s increasing popularity may be due to how well it fits into our busy lives.
‘Poetry can be read in short bursts. It is a very modern medium - perfectly suited to our need to access things in shorter spaces of time.
‘Poems transport us, and when performed at events they open up worlds and moments in time. Poetry is a great mode of escapism, no wonder it’s so popular!’
Words will be spilling onto pavements, out of offices and into classrooms, cafes and theatres everywhere on Friday 30 July.
A few of National Poetry Day’s highlights this year are:
•Whangarei. The Great Wall of Words, Storytime, The Strand on Vine. Poems will be submitted from all over Northland and beyond. A selection of the best poems will be chosen for display on Storytime’s Great Wall of Words.
•Auckland Guerrilla Poets in the Street. 11.30 am – 2 pm, K’Road. Come join the Guerrilla Poets for a poetry chalking event in the central city
•South Auckland. Something Worth Reading? The South Auckland Poets Collective Book & Film Launch. 7 pm – 9.30 pm, Te Puke Otara Community Centre, Newbury Street, Otara. The South Auckland Poets Collective (SAPC) is a group of young Pacific and Maori writers/poets/performers from all areas of Manukau City. Armed with their voices and notebooks they cast down the negative stereotypes of youth in South Auckland with a new and positive story. Featuring live performances from the collective, local DJs, MCs and short film viewing.
•West Auckland. Rhythm & Verse, 7.30 pm, Lopdell House Gallery, 418 Titirangi Road, Titirangi. A night of fabulous poetry and music including readings from Selina Tusitala-Marsh; Kevin Ireland; Raewyn Alexander and Janet Charman.
•Tauranga. Loose Canons. 6.30 pm onwards, No 1 The Strand, Tauranga. Words and music from visiting poets and musicians including Northern Horde’s re-enactment of Beowulf’s slaying of the monster Grendel. Sign up for open mike presented by Bravado with prizes and surprises.
•Hamilton. The Great Hamilton Poem Hunt. Friday 23 July to Thursday29 July , 2010. Follow the clues and find the lost poem, line by line. If you find a line, bring it into the Waikato Museum to claim a reward.
•Taupo. Poetry in the Workplace 12pm-1pm NZ Post Shop, Horomatangi Street. Personalities and poets read originals and favourites.
•Havelock North. Sam Hunt Encore Concert. All Day at the Pipi Café, 16 Joll Road. If you missed out last year here’s your chance to see the legendary Sam Hunt LIVE with friend Barry Saunders, lead singer of the legendary Warratahs.
•Paraparaumu. Poets to the People Poetry Day Vigil. 7 pm - 9.30 pm, Thursday29 July, 2010, Paraparaumu Library. A celebration and reading of New Zealand poetry. Guest poets Adrienne Jansen and friends will perform poetry to music, in foreign and sign language. Open mic competition for your own poems of no more than ten lines.
•Upper Hutt. Poets’ Corner – Campfire Poems. 10.30 am – 11.30 am, Thursday 29 July 2010. Expressions Arts and Entertainment Centre, 836 Fergusson Drive. Bring along your own poems and your favourite campfire poems and read them to the group. The session will be fronted by Tony Chad, who will supplement the group’s poems with a wide range of work by New Zealand and international poets. Milo with marshmallows and breakfast sausages in bread with lashings of tomato sauce on offer!
•Wellington. Poetry at OUR Edge of the Universe. 8 pm – 10.30 pm, Betty’s Function House and Bar, 32 Blair St. Free evening of poetry performance, music, art, audience competitions and costume characters. Performances from jazz/rock band Freaky Meat and celebrated poets James Brown, Hinemoana Baker, Ingrid Horrocks and Anna Livesey, while poetry is projected on the walls. Wandering IIML Masters poet characters will await you for up-close-and-personal poetry readings - choose from, the Minstrel, Wood Nymph, Salvadore Dali, a Geisha Madam, Warrior Princess or Wartime Belle. Let your inner poet out to play in the audience poem competition - bring a poem or write one on the night; winners will be awarded prizes and invited to read.
•Wellington. Capital Poetry Marathon, 9.00am – 5.00pm, Bucket Fountain, Cuba Mall. Come along and participate or simply sit and enjoy this marathon feast of poetry. An open mic will operate all day for everyone to read their poems – any style goes. This is New Zealand's largest live street-poetry event.
•Wellington. Best New Zealand Poems 2009. 12.15 - 1.15 pm, Monday 26 July 2010. The Marae, Ta Papa. As a curtain-raiser for Poetry Day, the International Institute of Modern Letters presents readings by writers whose poems appear in the 2009 edition of Best New Zealand Poems including Geoff Cochrane, Gregory O’Brien, Chris Price, Louise Wallace, Ian Wedde and Ashleigh Young. Introduced by Jenny Bornholdt.
•Christchurch. Poems for Lunch – A Menu of Astonishing Variety. 12.30 – 1.30 pm, University Bookshop on Campus, Canterbury University, Ilam, Christchurch. We invite you to help build up our Poetry Wall. It can be anything – from Winnie-the-Pooh to a Shakespearean sonnet or James K Baxter - or one you knocked up in your lunch-time. We want the wall completely filled. On the day, come and join us for a feast of poetry, including performances by such established poets as Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Dora Sharpe-Davidson, Rebekah Eder, Rachael King and Ross Brighton.
•Wanaka. 24 Hour Poetry, People. Midnight to Midnight, Friday 29 – 30 July 2010. Poetic Justice Wanaka is bringing poetry to the people! Poetic Justice presents 24 hours of poetry in Wanaka. There will be something for everyone, including overnight poetry readings on Wanaka Beats 107.3FM, free poetry in local cafes, art-and-poetry competition at Art Upstairs, a public magnetic poetry board in the centre of town, poetry for kids at Wanaka Library and an Open Mic Night, featuring guest reader David Eggleton.
•Dunedin. Poetry Evening, 7 pm – 9 pm, Dunningham Suite, 4th Floor, City Library. Enjoy a glass of wine and light refreshments as poetry is brought to life by some of our best-loved and upcoming poets. Featuring: Diane Brown, Rogelio Guedea, Michael Harlow, Amos Mann, Sarah Paterson, Jenny Powell and MC, Cy Mathews
All listed events take place on Friday 30 July unless otherwise stated. For details of all events around New Zealand go to
The winner of the 2010 NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry is Fast Talking PI, by Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press).
The finalists in the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Awards Poetry Category are: Just This by Brian Turner (Victoria University Press), The Lustre Jug by Bernadette Hall (Victoria University Press) and The Tram Conductor’s Blue Cap by Michael Harlow (Auckland University Press).
The Poetry Category winner will be announced together with all other Category winners, the People’s Choice Award winner and the overall New Zealand Post Book of the Year at a gala dinner to be held at the Langham Hotel, Auckland on Friday 27 August 2010.
Tickets to the Awards Ceremony are available to purchase from
New Zealand Post Group’s sponsorship of the country’s national book awards is symbolic of their strong and active support of the country’s literature. As sponsor of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards for 15 years, this new sponsorship highlights the company’s commitment to promoting literary excellence. Working closely with Booksellers NZ, New Zealand Post and other dedicated segments of the community actively encourage New Zealanders to read and enjoy books.
The New Zealand Post Book Awards 2010 are also funded by Creative New Zealand. The Awards are managed by Booksellers NZ and supported by the New Zealand Society of Authors and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd.

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