National Poetry Day – Friday 26 August 2022 – and poetry at WORD Christchurch Festival 2022

National Poetry Day is celebrating its 25th birthday this year.

What's on at the library

Blackout Poetry at New Brighton Library - 13 to 21 August

To warm up your poetic muscles, try Blackout Poetry at New Brighton Library from Saturday 13 August to Sunday 21 August. 

Spring: Breakdown, Breakthrough - Thursday 25 August 5.30pm to 7.30pm at Foundation Cafe, Tūranga

As we approach the sense of change that a new season brings, many of our established and promising new poets give us their takes on some of the big issues of our time, such as pandemics, climate crisis, war in Europe, and the rising cost of living. There will be two sets of poets on the night, the ‘Breakdown’ part that will consist of more established poets. This includes the multi-award winning Gail Ingram (Contents Under Pressure), Greek-New Zealand poet Vana Manasiādis (The Grief Almanac, a sequel), film-maker, writer, and photographer Ciaran Fox, Philip Armstrong (winner of the Kathleen Grattan Award for Sinking lessons), Claudia Jardine (The Temple of Your Girl), and Anna Heraskina Foster (Ukrainian-born award-winning poet). The second ‘Breakthrough’ set will feature the budding talents of Elizabeth Ayrey, Lucy Barge, Amelia Kirkness, and Sarah-Kate Simons. All this is brought to you by the Canterbury Poets Collective, NZ Poetry Day, the New Zealand Poetry Society and Takahē magazine, and will be hosted on the night by the fabulous poet and performer RIkthemost. 

Subscribe to the Facebook event: Spring: Breakdown, Breakthrough
Free, bookings through Foundation Café, ground floor, Tūranga (03) 365 0308

National Poetry Fun Day - Friday 26 August 3.30pm to 5pm at the library at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre

We will be writing haikus and putting them on our very own badge using our badge maker. Create a 'Poem in your Pocket' to share with the community. Make your own magnetic poetry for your fridge. Have a go at Blackout Poetry. Make some silly poems on our iPads and write your creation on our glass wall with some cool paint pens!

This session is suitable for ages 8 to 13 years. Free, bookings required


Diving In - Friday 26 August 5.30pm to 7.30 pm at Auaha Hīhī / Spark Place, Tūranga

Come one, come all! It’s time to launch the winner of the inaugural John O’Connor First Book Award – my thoughts are all of swimming by Rose Collins. Join Sudden Valley Press and the Canterbury Poets’ Collective to see it make a splash! The festivities include readings by shortlisted poets Ciaràn Fox and Jeni Curtis, as well as a panel discussion with Rose, Ciaràn, Jeni, publisher David Gregory, and the CPC’s Erik Kennedy.
Doors open at 5.30 pm for books sales and signings.

Entry Details: Free
Date/Time: Friday 26 August 5.30pm to 7.30 pm
Location: Auaha Hīhī / Spark Place at Tūranga
Further Info:

Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day

Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day is a one-day celebration of New Zealand poetry run each year since 1997. In 2022 it will take place on Friday 26 August.

Poetry events at WORD Christchurch Festival - Wednesday 31 August to Sunday 4 September

Post-Poetry Day there is a great lineup of Poetry events at WORD Christchurch Festival. 

Christchurch Poetry Slam Wednesday 31 August 7pm to 9pm
$10 on the door

This is the rough diamond in the crown of the poetry calendar, where poets set aside the niceties and throw down like their lives depend on it. Did they nail it? You be the judge: the audience rules at the Poetry Slam. Hosted by Doc Drumheller and Ciaran Fox.

Magazine-in-Residence: Takahē Thursday 1 to Sunday 4 September 12noon to 4pm

Drop in each day to meet their dynamic editorial team and get a peek behind the scenes at a literary magazine. See them editing and laying out the limited-edition zine, with artists and writers present to show their process, plus short talks from special guests. On Sunday at 4pm in Foundation, help to launch the finished product with readings and toasts. Submit your poetry and short fiction (up to 1000 words) in te reo or English in person, or via email at, opens a new window

The Museum of Unruly Desires Thursday 1 September 6pm to 8pm
Book tickets

Take an after-dark stroll through the halls and galleries of the museum, with an all-star line-up of poets waiting beside favourite taonga to read work that illuminates these treasures in brilliant and surprising ways. Afterwards, regain your senses with a drink from the cash bar among the taxidermied menagerie of the Bird Hall. Poets include Frances Samuel, Robert Sullivan, Rebecca Hawkes, Erik Kennedy and Joanna Preston.

Out here: An anthology of takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ writers from Aotearoa Friday 2 September 4pm to 5pm

For decades, homophobia and erasure have been the norm in Aotearoa. In the new Out Here anthology, myriad Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ writers set out to fill the silence with humour and bite, intelligence and verve. Join the anthology’s editors Chris Tse and Emma Barnes for a deep dive into the brilliance and diversity of Queer writing today, with commentary and readings from special guests including Sam Duckor-Jones, Ray Shipley, AJ Fitzwater, Sascha Stronach and essa may ranapiri.

Celebrating Culture and Sister Cities Friday 2 September 7pm to 8pm

Five New Zealand poets join forces with five Chinese musicians from the New Zealand Hubei Economic Trade Cultural Association, in celebration of the sister city relationship between Waimakariri and Enshi, China, and 50 years of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand. With Ben Brown, Daisy Lavea-Timo, Erik Kennedy, Annabel Wilson and Ciaran Fox, plus young Chinese writers from the Write On School for Young Writers, and Doc Drumheller launching his haiku collection, Drinking With Li Bai.

Ray Shipley's Late Night Poetry Hour Friday 2 September 9pm to 11pm
Book tickets

Christchurch’s favourite nocturnal salon brings together visiting out-of-towners and hot locals for a memorable night of poetry, shenanigans, feelings and staying up far too late. The one and only Ray Shipley hosts Dominic Hoey, Mohamed Hassan, Vana Manasiadis and Emma Barnes.

No other place to stand: Creativity and Climate Change Saturday 3 September 4.30pm to 5.30pm

How do we adapt, mitigate and create in response to the climate crisis? Join human rights and climate campaigner Kera Sherwood-O’Regan and the editors of the new No Other Place to Stand climate poetry anthology, Erik Kennedy, essa may ranapiri and Rebecca Hawkes, for a conversation about art and activism. How can poetry get us past the language of science and policy to where the ecological and human meet? With readings from contributors including Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna’i and Philip Armstrong.

Foundation Pop-Up Festival Saturday 3 September 5pm to 10pm
$5 on the door

Our festival-within-a-festival is back for another marathon of stunning performances and outrageous gimmicks, in a showcase of Ōtautahi and Aotearoa’s finest word people.

Featuring close to 50 performers, and curated by WORD’s own programmer-at-large, Audrey Baldwin, 2022’s pop-up is a seven-course feast covering amuse-bouche haiku, new release entrees, a fresh soup of emerging talent, tāngata moana kai moana, the meat and potatoes of algorithms doing violence to classic literature, then on to a bittersweet desert of heartbreak and lust…with karaoke to close. Drop in and out at any time.

The Stardust Cabaret Saturday 3 September 7.30pm to 9pm
Book tickets

Carl Sagan said, ‘We are made of star-stuff.’ This festival night, get cosy in the Little Andromeda bar and enjoy star-stuff-infused spoken word performances, MC’d by the glitter-bright RikTheMost. Let poets, spec-fic authors, observationists and storytellers sprinkle fabulosity and help you to travel the cosmos. With Rebecca HawkesSam Duckor-Jones, Ray ShipleySascha StronachKahu Tumai and more. Curated by A.J. Fitzwater, with all proceeds going to support local charity Qtopia.

Confluence 2.0 Saturday 3 September 8.30pm to 10pm
Book tickets

After its resounding success in 2021, Confluence returns with a brand-new line-up of Pasfika and Māori musicians and poets for a joyous celebration of the cultural, musical and ancestral connections between the islands of Polynesia and Aotearoa. With Daisy Speaks as your curator and host, and the Judah Band laying down epic grooves, tune in for the stylings of Karlo Mila, The Soakai Brothers (Dietrich, Eric and Zech), Robert Sullivanessa may ranapiri, Micahlei Timo and special musical guest Mahalia Simpson.

Make it, Say it, Do it now Sunday 4 September 2pm to 6pm

Have you got a message to spread or a story to tell? Ever wanted to write or make a zine or put a slogan on a badge? We’re handing over WORD’s beautiful venue The Faraway Near for a mashup of free workshops, stalls and hands-on creative crafts. Check out The Conscious Club‘s Maker’s Market of local ethical goods, the Rainbow Reading Club with Emma Barnes, Kerry Donovan Brown and Chris Tse, writing workshops with Dominic Hoey and Claudia Jardine, and an open mic with RikTheMost for you poets on the rise. If you’re under 25 and into making meaning rather than consuming it, come on down.

Poetry for the nervous - reading it, writing it, getting it: Workshop with Joanna Preston Sunday 4 September 3pm to 5pm
Book tickets

Join Joanna Preston, winner of the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry at the 2022 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, for this two-hour workshop designed to bring you gently into the world of poetry. Look at some of the ways poems are put together and try your hand at writing some yourself. Perfect for complete beginners, this workshop offers a mixture of writing exercises, some reading and discussion of contemporary poems.


Browse the poetry events at WORD Christchurch

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