Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2019 – What’s on in Canterbury

Friday 23 August is Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2019 and Canterbury is celebrating with a number of events on the day itself, before and after. There are also a bunch of competitions you can enter.

Thursday 22 August

At Tūranga:

Four Readings and a Festival

Christchurch poets, Erik Kennedy (shortlist 2019 Ockham Book Awards for There's No Place Like the Internet In Springtime), Victoria Broome (How We Talk to Each Other), Gail Ingram (Contents Under Pressure) and Marisa Cappetta (How to Tour the World on a Flying Fox) will talk about fame, fortune and first books and they will each read from their collections. Joanna Preston (Kathleen Grattan Award for The Summer King) is the MC.
Entry details: Free. Open to all ages.
Date/time: Thursday 22 August, 6pm – 7.30pm
Location: Spark Place, Ground Floor, Tūranga, 60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch
Further info: Four Readings and a Festival Facebook event

And at the very funky venue, Exchange, not far from the ruins of Lancaster Park, we have:

At the Drop of a Hat

What did your Mum and Dad used to tell you: "Use your words!" At the Drop of a Hat is an interactive poetry show featuring poets Liz Breslin, Laura Williamson and Annabel Wilson. Audience members can write themes, topics and ideas to drop into the hat on arrival. The full hat is offered out to the audience again – the challenge, then, is for the poets to perform, read or create poems related to what is drawn from the hat. The promise held out to the audience is that the experience will go from pindrop profundity to belly-laugh territory. It’s simple, smart, energetic, entertaining, and different every time the poets play.
Entry details: $10, all ages ( Beware: there may be some swearing).
Date/times: Thursday 22 August, 7pm – 8:30pm
Location: Exchange Christchurch (XCHC), 376 Wilsons Rd, Waltham, Christchurch
Further info: At the Drop of a Hat Facebook event

Friday 23 August

On the day itself, Christchurch weighs in with several events. Our central library, Tūranga, has:

Poets in our Tūranga

There will be readings by over 40 local poets from midday onwards. The Mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel, will open proceedings and rumour has it she will read some poetry too. Well-known local poets, David Gregory and John Allison, will be the MCs. Everyone is welcome to come along and be touched by the magic of language.

Entry: Free public event.
Date/time: Friday 23 August, in 30-minute segments from noon to 6.30pm
Location: Tūranga, 60 Cathedral Square (also accessible from Colombo and Gloucester Streets).
Further info: Canterbury Poets Collective Facebook

That esteemed centre of learning, the University of Canterbury, has a workshop also:

Poet Among the Bookshelves workshop

Local poet, Kerrin Sharpe, will guide some lucky participants through how to hone their skills of poetry-writing. This hour-long workshop with Kerrin will give you some of the best tips and tricks to improve your writing process, as well as feedback and advice from a poet with some amazing industry experience. Create a piece of poetry you can be proud of and have it featured in our UBS inaugural National Poetry Day online collection, as well as the chance to have it featured in The Commuting Book! Spaces are limited so please register to attend. Tea, coffee, and cake will be provided.
Entry details: Free. Open to all ages. Register before 16 August by emailing
Date/times: Friday 23 August, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Location: University Bookshop, University Drive, Ilam, Christchurch
Further info: Poetry among the Bookshelves Facebook event

Lyttelton has always been a hub of literary fervour so it is no surprise that Lyttelton hosts:

David Merritt and the #Poetrybrick – Lyttelton

In an age of hurtling digital expansion, poet David Merritt has constructed his poetry books by hand from using recycled Readers' Digests to create poem books that are unmistakably, uniquely his own. A cluster of 30 individual poems, assembled into a brick, will be installed in various places nationwide for the public to read, enjoy and share through schools, public libraries, universities and polytechs, cafes, galleries, markets, family homes. The Poetry Brick is available for overnight use at book clubs/potlucks and BBQs, open mics etc. Includes travelling notes for multiple curators. The poet will also be on nationwide tour at the same time in the days over Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2019 and will address the poems as he finds them.
Entry details: FREE. All welcome to share.
Date/time: Friday 23 August, 8am – 7pm
Location: Lyttelton Coffee Company, 29 London St, Lyttelton
Further info: The#Poetrybrick - Lyttelton Facebook event

Saturday 24 August

The Hagley Writers' Institute is renown as a hotbed for creative endeavour and they come to the party with:

Hagley Writers' Institute National Poetry Day Celebration

Winners of the Hagley Writers' Institute Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2019 competition (the submission date closed on 31 July 2019) will be announced by judge, Helen Heath (winner of the Peter and Mary Biggs Poetry Prize at the Ockham NZ Book Awards 2019). Readings from Helen Heath, Allison Glenny, 2019 Ursula Bethell Fellow, Gail Ingram, Frankie McMillan, Victoria Broome, Kerrin P Sharpe, Marisa Cappetta and the competition winners. Please come and join the celebrations – wine and nibbles provided.
Entry details: Free.
Date/time: Saturday 24 August, 5pm – 7pm
Location: Scorpio Books, Hereford Street, Christchurch
Further info: Hagley Institute Scorpio Reading Facebook event

They are also holding a workshop which is described as a closed event as it is free but limited to 20 participants:

Hagley Writers' Institute Workshop with award-winning poet, Helen Heath

"How can we incorporate apparently dry facts and research into our poetry while keeping it fresh and fun?" Join Helen Heath for a workshop on found poems, ventriloquism, and randomisation. Helen will talk about the process of writing her latest book and the techniques she used before the class writes and workshops poems. Be prepared to do some homework before the workshop and bring along some material to work with. Come ready to share your writing with the class. Helen Heath is a poet and essayist from the Kāpiti Coast, Wellington. Her latest collection of poems – Are Friends Electric? (VUP 2018) – won the Peter and Mary Biggs Prize for poetry at the 2019 Ockham Book Awards.
Entry details: Free. Open to all Cantabrian poets, 18+. Class limit: 20. Registration is essential. Please email Morrin Rout, Director, Hagley Writers' Institute, to secure a place.
Date/time: Saturday 24 August, 1.30 – 2.30pm
Location: The Writers' Block, Hagley College, Hagley Ave, Christchurch
Further info: Hagley Writers' Institute Workshop / Helen Heath Facebook event

More local poetry

If you still have not had your fill of poetry after Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2019, then look out for the many regular poetry readings that take place around Christchurch such as:

Catalyst Open Mic Poetry night is held on the first Wednesday of every month at Space Academy, 371 St Asaph Street, Christchurch. Check out the Facebook events.

Canterbury Poets Collective holds seasons of Spring and Autumn readings with guest poets and an open mic section. Like them on Facebook to find out more.

And there are others such as Andy Coyle's newish Open Mic Poetry at Vesuvio, 10/4 Papanui Road, Christchurch. The next one is on Sunday 25 August.

More poetry competitions

Also, this month - the Poems on Buses Metro promotion is back, with a great range of age group prizes.

So go forth, young poetic Padawan! Seek and you shall find poetry.

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