Friday, May 29, 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 (pic left) 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.

The crash comes
and I fly from the top bunk
along the hallway to the lounge
my feet not feeling the floor
and there they are
my father’s hand
on my mother’s white
throat. Call the police
like soprano
me slow dancing
toward the receiver
my father’s hand stretched out
clasping me like you clasp the cheek
of an irresistible child
pulling me across the carpet
like a cutie.

Tusiata Avia is an acclaimed poet, performer and children’s writer.
Her solo stage show Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, premiered in Dunedin in
2002, has since been performed throughout NZ and overseas. Her first
collection, also titled Wild Dogs Under .
Photo at top by Martin Hunter
My Skirt, was published in 2004.
In 2005 she held the Fulbright-CNZ Pacific Writer’s Residency at the
University of Hawai’i.
Bloodclot, her second book of poetry, was published in 2009.

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