Pantograph Picks: National Poetry Day 2017

Pantograph Picks for National Poetry Day 2017

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This year marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Day. While the actual day is Friday 25 August, events start from 10 August. There are a huge number of events happening across the country, so we thought we'd give you some help. Here are our picks!


Pop Up Poetry: Word - The Front Line
Various times Saturday 18th to Friday 25th August.
Central City Library. Free event.

Warm-up for National Poetry Day with the team from Word – The Front Line. Young poets from across Auckland share their love of poetry and the spoken word in unexpected places in the Central City Library. Hear their voices as you browse the shelves or listen attentively as they perform to add their voices to the library space. Contact Ken Arkind at for further details. 

Down South: Spoken Word and Rap Open Mic
Thursday 24 August, 3.30pm - 5.00pm.
The Black Room, MIT Faculty of Creative Arts. Sign up or register on the day. Free event.

MIT's Faculty of Creative Arts is hosting a Spoken Word and Rap Open Mic with free food, poetry prizes, and all the snaps. Bring your beats, spit your words, break our hearts, and lift us up. New poems, old poems, love poems: we want to hear from you! Kick off National Poetry Day Down South in style and celebrate the voices of Aotearoa.

Compound Press & min-a-rets
Saturday 26 August, 7.00-9.00pm.
5c 55-57 High St, Auckland Central. Free event.

Knock out National Poetry Day with the relaunch of min-a-rets #7 (first issue in 3 years) edited by Zarah Butcher-Mcgunnigle, with readings by Hana Pera Aoake (Wgt), Owen Connors, Craig Foltz, & Ursula Robinson (Melb). Also featuring a multi-lingual & multi-media performance by NZ-Taiwanese poet Ya-Wen Ho for a new Compound Press chapbook by Korean-Peruvian poet Ae Hee Lee. Books for sale. Some drinks provided and BYO welcome. Hopefully things get weird.


Poetry and Pikelets
Friday 25 August, 10.00am-12.00pm.
Dannevirke Library. Free event.

Who can go past a pikelet? Not me. Poetry lovers are welcome at the Dannevirke Library for a discussion on all things poetry! Bring along some poetry to share from your own poems to your favourite poets, or both. RSVP to by 18 August. Pikelets, tea and coffee provided. Score.


Best New Zealand Poems 
Monday 21 August, 12.15-1.15pm.
Te Papa Marae, Level 4, Te Papa, Wellington. Free event.

What better way to anticipate the National Poetry Day than with a line-up of thirteen of the best? Come along to hear Nick Ascroft, James Brown, John Dennison, Adrienne Jansen, Bill Manhire, Bill Nelson, Claire Orchard, Kerrin P Sharpe, Oscar Upperton, Tim Upperton, Airini Beautrais, Marty Smith and Ashleigh Young read their poem selected for the annual online publication Best New Zealand Poems, plus a favourite New Zealand poem. [Photo: Nick Ascroft by Grant Maiden.]

Manifesto Aotearoa Poetry
Friday 25th August, 12.00-1.00pm. 
Unity Books Wellington, 57 Willis Street, Wellington. Free event.

Join Unity Books Wellington for National Poetry Day when Nick Ascroft, Mary Cresswell, Anahera Gildea, Liang Yujing, and Keith Westwater will read from their work in Manifesto Aotearoa: 101 Political Poems edited by Philip Temple & Emma Neale and published by Otago University Press. Read our review of Manifesto if you want to find out what we thought about the anthology.


We love Volume Bookstore, and for National Poetry Day they have a virtual event: The Nelson Poetry Map. On their open-access map you can contribute poems and tag the locations you associate with those poems. In essence, it's a poetry walking tour you can take on your mobile device (or a virtual tour without leaving home). Watch out for wandering poetry readers on National Poetry Day!


Public Workshop with Ben Brown
Saturday 26 August, 10.30-12.30pm. 
The Writers' Block, Hagley College, Hagley Avenue. Free event.

Release the power of poetry at our free public Saturday workshop with renowned Lyttelton poet, Ben Brown. This is an incredible opportunity so grab your pens and paper, and get creative! Registration by Monday 21 August by contacting Director, Morrin Rout:


Speak Up! Poetry Power
Friday 25th August, 6.00pm
Queenstown Arts Centre, 49 Stanley Street, Queenstown

An evening of performance poetry featuring the multi-talented Ian Loughran, who recently appeared at the Dunedin Writers Readers Festival, and The Letterman Poetry Collective: Marina Alefosio, Dietrich Soakai, Luti Richards & Zane David Scarborough. The Letterman Poetry Collective are also giving a free workshop for children 10years+ for poetry day. This event promises some high-energy spoken word performances!   


The Perfect 10
Friday 25th August, 5.30pm. 
Dunningham Suite, Dunedin City Library, 230 Moray Place. Tickets $5 and bookings essential.

Hosted by the Otago-Southland NZ Society of Authors, this gala evening celebrating poetry brings together ten illustrious Otago poets, alongside some of the region’s upcoming young writers. With writer Diane Brown at the helm, special guests include: Peter Olds, David Howard, Fiona Farrell, Liz Breslin, Victor Billot, Sue Wootton, Jenny Powell, Kay Cooke, Brian Turner and Jillian Sullivan. It's going to be great. [Photo: Fiona Farrell. Credit: Matt Bialostocki.]