Climate change and the plight of refugees are the focus of some of the 150+ events in this year’s Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day, taking place on Friday August 23.
Our annual celebration of writing and reading poetry embraces both the personal and political in a dynamic programme of events and competitions nationwide – from parks, beaches, pavements and public transport to cafés, bars, bookshops, schools, university campuses, libraries, RSAs, community centres, marae and more.
The record number of events include:
- Auckland’s ‘I Feel at Home, Away from Home – Blackout Poetry Workshop’ – that gives voice to our migrants and refugees; and the Theoradical Hobohemians hosting ‘An Interview with Charles Bukowski’.
- Wellington’s ‘Show Ponies: A National Poetry Day Extravaganza’ – a late-night gig, featuring award-winner Chris Tse and other poets posing as popstars for the evening.
- Wairarapa’s ‘Climate Positive’ – poetry, song and stories of positive action against the climate crisis with performance poets Extinction Rebellion.
- Christchurch’s ‘Poets in Our Tūranga’ – a six-hour poetry marathon at the new Tūranga Central Library, featuring more than 40 local poets and writers, and 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards poetry category finalist Erik Kennedy.
- Dunedin’s ‘Changing Minds: Memories Lost and Found’ – a poetry competition for adults inspired by their experience of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day includes appearances by the winner of the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry in the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, Helen Heath, who will deliver a workshop at Hagley Writers’ Institute in Christchurch on Saturday, August 24. Poetry category finalist, Therese Lloyd, will take part in the launch of Paula Green’s magnum opus, Wild Honey: Reading New Zealand Women’s Poetry at Unity Books in Wellington.
In the lead up to August 23, Phantom Billstickers will bring poetry to our communities with an epic street poster campaign. All four 2019 Ockham poetry category finalists, including Tayi Tibble, will feature in Phantom Billstickers’ national super-size Poetry on Posters campaign.
Nicola Legat, Chair, The New Zealand Book Awards Trust, says ‘One of the themes of this year’s events is a focus on social issues. Events focussed on climate change and the issues facing refugees are among them, and this shows how relevant and useful poetry is as a way of confronting and addressing some of our wicked problems.’
Held annually on the fourth Friday in August, #NZPoetryDay sees poetry royalty join forces with poetry fans from all over Aotearoa in an action-packed programme of slams and rap, open mic and spoken word performances, pop-up events, book launches and readings. There are 24 poetry contests to enter. Many of the programmed events will be open to the public and free to enjoy.
Established in 1997, National Poetry Day is a popular fixture on the nation’s cultural calendar and one that celebrates discovery, diversity and community. For the past four years, Phantom Billstickers has supported National Poetry Day through its naming rights sponsorship.
For full details about all the events taking place on Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day, including places, venues, times, tickets and more, go to: