To mark the 20th anniversary of Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day (NPD), 20 leading Kiwi poets were asked to select one of their own poems, something they felt spoke to New Zealanders now. They also chose a poem by an emerging poet, writers they feel make essential reading for us in 2017.
The result is the 20/20 Collection – 40 poems by New Zealand poets who represent the diversity and vibrancy of talent in our contemporary national literature. The list includes Poet Laureates, Ockham New Zealand Book Awards winners, and strong new voices from recent collections and anthologies.
NPD has been running continuously since 1997 and is always celebrated on the last Friday in August. Poetry enthusiasts from all over New Zealand organise a feast of events – from poetry slams to flash and pop-up events – in venues that include schools, libraries, bars, galleries, surf clubs, and parks. This year’s NPD will be held on Friday 25 August.
Launched on May 24, the 20/20 Collection will be published in groups of ten poems between now and NPD. Featured poets are: Jenny Bornholdt and her pick, Ish Doney; Paula Green and Simone Kaho; Vincent O’Sullivan and Lynley Edmeade; Apirana Taylor and Kiri Piahana Wong; Alison Wong and Chris Tse; Tusiata Avia and Teresia Teaiwa; Kevin Ireland and Gregory Kan; Diana Bridge and John Dennison; Andrew Johnston and Bill Nelson; Michael Harlow and Paul Schimmel; C.K. Stead and Johanna Emeney; David Eggleton and Leilani Tamu; Elizabeth Smither and Rob Hack; Richard Reeve and Michael Steven; Robert Sullivan and Ngahuia Te Awekotuku; Bill Manhire and Louise Wallace; Selina Tusitala Marsh and Reihana Robinson; Cilla McQueen and David Holmes; James Norcliffe and Marisa Capetta; and Brian Turner and Jillian Sullivan.
Paula Morris, NPD spokesperson for the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, said that she was “excited to see the range of voices selected here, and the ethnic and geographic diversity in the poets chosen by our twenty established writers. This list speaks to a 'new' New Zealand literature, and reflects how much our culture is changing and growing.”
Many of the poets featured in the 20/20 Collection will take part in events on 25 August, Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2017. Event organisers are encouraged to register their poetry event online as soon as possible: http://www.nzbookawards.nz/national-poetry-day/how-to-register-your-event/.
Now into their second year of naming rights sponsorship of National Poetry Day, Phantom Billstickers will support NPD and 20/20 on the ground, online and in print, with funky billstickers that celebrate our nation’s poets. Business Development Manager Kelly Wilson says, “If given a platform, poetry speaks to people. We are very proud at Phantom to support National Poetry Day and provide platforms all around the country for the poetic voice of New Zealand.”