Naming the Sirens debut at WORD Christchurch 2023

Naming the Sirens is a show that evokes women whose names have been forgotten. Who knows the names of these women who supposedly lure men to their deaths with their song? How do they relate to our lives today? Can you resist the call of this free WORD poetry event, starting 6pm on Thursday 24th August in Tūranga’s Tautoru / TSB space?

Enter four local poets: Gail Ingram, Janet Wainscott, Marisa Cappetta and Jeni Curtis, along with poet-director Joanna Preston.

This event seems to be doing something new with poetry performance, at the same time as doing something very old. Inspired by the collective voice, it’s touted as “part poetry reading, part modern Greek chorus, with poems from their four books weaving through and around each other.” Kicking off with their debut performance the day before National Poetry Day (August 25th), Naming the Sirens’ only Christchurch event is an exploration of the poetic form not to be missed.

While around the country young poets are taking to the stage in slam events and school competitions, this group offers something different. As older women: wives, mothers and teachers, they are “worldly” with experience under their belts in terms of years of performing and supporting their local community. And I would know. As the daughter of one of the performers, I’ve grown up with my mum Gail serving roles in countless writing groups and fostering a love of words in her whānau and community.

Now all four have new books published with Sudden Valley Press, a long-established Christchurch-based boutique press, returning to active publishing last year after a hiatus. All Sirens are regular performers at the Canterbury Poets’ Collective Poetry in Performance readings and have been active in the Canterbury poetry scene for more than a decade.

Using my insider status, I’ve compiled an exclusive list of book recommendations from Naming the Sirens performers and director. Hearing in their own words what books inspired them is a great way to get a sense of who they are and what the show is about. There are plenty of fantastic feminist reads to check out and top up your reading list.

From a completely impartial *ahem* standpoint, all I can say is what better way to celebrate National Poetry Day than to come along to an event by local poets who know their calling?

Naming the Sirens is a free, one-hour performance poetry event. See you at Tūranga, Hapori Level 1 in the Tautoru | TSB space at 6pm, Thursday August 24th.

Find out more: Naming the Sirens at WORD Christchurch

Read the Sirens

Naming the Sirens Recommends...

List created by araytiay

A feminist collection of books about sirens and furies, inspired by myth and the lives women lead. These are personal recommendations from worldly women and poets Gail Ingram, Jeni Curtis, Janet Wainscott, Marisa Cappetta and Ockham prize winning Joanna Preston. Together they are Naming the Sirens, a chorus that is calling you, singing you, warning you, naming the joys, miseries and desires of women through time. Their debut performance is at WORD Christchurch 2023. Read their books and some of their inspirations compiled below.

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Auahtanga, Tūranga

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