Friday, June 24, 2011


Poetry vigils and performances, txt poems, poetry walls, tongue-twisters, poetry slams and poetry trails, are among the many events happening up and down the country on Friday 22 July to mark National Poetry Day 2011.

From Waipu to Dunedin, National Poetry Day 2011 is a unique opportunity to hear some of our favourite poets share their work. Poetry stars Tusiata Avia, Kevin Ireland, Michele Leggott, Bill Manhire, Harry Ricketts, Brian Turner, are among the line-up in more than 50 events planned around New Zealand.

Established in 1998, National Poetry Day has grown to become one of the most anticipated events on the arts calendar, celebrating not only the work of our established poets, but budding poets everywhere.
National Poetry Day 2011 gives all New Zealander’s the opportunity to channel their inner poet and share their poems with each other in new and old ways. Chalk a poem on the street; txt your poem to a dedicated 021 number; read your poem aloud at an open mic event; or simply relax in a café, bar, gallery, cinema, library or school and let poems wash over you.

National Poetry Day Coordinator, Siobhan Harvey, says that "this year, the number of events and communities involved reminds us of the strength of New Zealand poetry and people's connection to poetry generally.”

“It's wonderful to see so many events embracing new technology and bringing poetry to new mediums. It's also good to know that there are a range of events involving our best-loved poets.”

“The mix of the new and the familiar proves how adaptable and accessible poetry is, and how National Poetry Day 2011 is a perfect way in which people around the country can experience the diversity of New Zealand poetry."

Words will be spilling onto pavements, out of offices and into classrooms, cafes, bars and theatres everywhere on Friday 22 July; with some events happening before and after National Poetry Day 2011.

Proposals are still being sought from Kiwis around the country who love poetry, and would like to hold a special event on Friday 22 July in celebration of National Poetry Day 2011. To register please contact Siobhan Harvey, Siobhan will be on hand between now and July 22 to help any interested parties with advice on organising a National Poetry Day 2011 event. 

A few of National Poetry Day’s highlights this year are:
All listed events take place on Friday 22 July unless otherwise stated. For details of all events around New Zealand go to

  • Waipu. Winter at Waipu Poetry Evening, Y-Not Café, 7 – 9pm. Come and hear the winners of the Bream Bay poetry competition, read some of your favourite poetry or just relax and listen to local people read and perform their own poems. 
  • Orewa. The Hibiscus Coast Poetry Evening, Mozaik Café, 7 – 9.30pm. Readings of original and others’ poems, interspersed with attendees own selections.
  • Kumeu. Art from the Kumeu Heart, to run for a whole week, 15 – 22 July. Poetry comes to the people in public places, unexpected spaces, poetry in our towns, on noticeboards and on the ground . . .
  • West Auckland. The Late Great Poetry Show, Lopdell House, Titirangi, Friday 29 July, 7 – 10.30pm. A wild winter night of poetry, music & mulled wine with poets and musicians.
  • Auckland & beyond. Poetry Phone. Poetry Phone lets you dial-a-poem, from 9am - 9pm, on Friday the 22 July. This will be an (09)-based event, but anyone can call or txt the (021) numbers.
  • Auckland. Utter Brilliance at The Thirsty Dog Tavern, 469 K Road on Thursday 21 July @ 7pm. An open slam event with readings of 90 seconds or less, with a first prize of $250, other prizes and encouragements, and readings from established poets.
·       Auckland CBD. All Day Poetry Trail. Take a walk of poetry and art, along the way visit art galleries and booksellers and complete your day with a poetry reading at Hotel De Brett featuring Bob Orr and John Pule.
·       Auckland CBD. The Literati RETHiNK Possible Worlds, Winter Gardens, the Civic, 6.30  – 7.30 p.m. The Literati, in association with the International Film Festival and the Show me Shorts Film Cafe, presents 4 vignettes or short stories of poetry to music and moving image as an introduction to the RETHiNK Possible Worlds.
·       Katikati. Poetry Potpourri, from 9.30am on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 July. Walk the haikau pathway and ‘dance a poem’ for local children.
  • Tauranga. Paved With Poetry. Local poets and school children pave the pavements with poetry all day, on Tauranga’s Main Street; Mt Maunganui’s Main Street; Fashion Island Papamoa; and Greeton Village.
  • Waikato. Hamilton Slamdown: Poetry Slam, Lido Cinemas (foyer), Centreplace on Monday 25 July @ 6.30pm. An evening of Spoken Word, an art form combining theatre and poetry.
  • Hawke’s Bay. Poetry Display: Life… Love… & Nature. Runs from 18 to 22 July, 9am – 5pm. Readings from local poet Wendy Joy Baker at Waipukurau Library and Waipawa Library. 
  • Taupo. Fine Words: Taupo, NZ Post Shop. Events include readings by members of the Fine Words Poetry Group, members of the public and visiting poet, Harry Ricketts.
  • Wanganui. Wanganui Poetry Evening, The Green Bench Gallery, 7 – 9.30pm. An evening of poetry and performance, featuring New Zealand poet and performer Mike Eager, Dr. Leonel Alvarado from Honduras, and local poet and performer Ron Riddell; accompanied by pianist Rick Baum and percussion by Ron Riddell.
  • Palmerston North. Writers Read Series: An Evening with Brian Turner, Palmerston North City Library @ 6.30pm.
  • Upper Hutt. Poetry for the People! Workshops, competitions and readings at the Upper Hutt City Library, 20 – 22 July.
  • Wellington. Capital Poetry Marathon, Bucket Fountain, Cuba Mall. The return of the popular, largest live street poetry performances event; happening all day.
  • Greymouth. Poems Online – Poets Out Loud, Grey District Library, 6 – 8pm. Community poetry evening, at which West Coasters share their own poems.
  • Christchurch. Phoenix Poetry – Rising from the Rubble, Canterbury University Bookshop, 12.30 – 1.30pm. Celebrate poetry, featuring readings from well-known poets, James Norcliffe and Tusiata Avia, and a Poetry Wall.
  • Dunedin. Tongue Twister Challenge, all Dunedin Public Libraries, runs from 16 to 24 July. Tongue-Twisters are poems written to get your tongue in a tangle! Grab a Tongue-Twister from your local library and see how fast you can go without making a mistake.

The winner of the 2011 NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry is Dear Sweet Harry, by Lynn Jenner (Auckland University Press).

The finalists in the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards Poetry Category are: The Mirror of Simple Annihilated Souls by Kate Camp (Victoria University Press), The Radio Room by Cilla McQueen (Otago University Press), Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English – Whetu Moana II by Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan (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 an awards ceremony to be held in Wellington on Wednesday 27 July 2011.

Tickets to the Awards Ceremony are available to purchase from

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