Standing Up in Palmy

OK, this photo was not taken in Palmerston North; it was taken in Iceland last year, and Palmy last Wednesday was noticeably warmer than Wellington, but this was the photo on the flyers, so I have used it here.

I had a great time at Stand Up Poetry, where I was July’s guest poet. I got there just in time for the 7pm start, having driven up from Wellington after work.   Love those rows of lights across the streets at Shannon.

It was my visit to the impressive Palmerston North library (after driving round the Square and failing to find it, I stopped and asked for directions).  It’s in a lovely old building with an interior designed by Ian Athfield and it sports some similar features to Wellington’s public library, like the exposed air ducts.  There’s a lot of glass, steel and stairways and it feels like a loved and well-used space.  After the poetry group, a group of young teenagers settled in for the night, for a school holidays basement lockdown.

Stand Up poetry is a regular monthly event at the library, organised by two great poets: Johanna Aitchison and Helen Lehndorf.  There was a small, but dedicated group of poets and poetry-lovers on the night I went, some of whom had driven in from Wanganui and Shannon.  

The evening started with an open mic – 10 slots of 5 minutes each.  I was very impressed with the readers on the night, with subject matter that ranged from Rarotonga to celibacy, from gnomes to drunkenness.  This was followed by a cuppa and a biscuit, then I was on for around half an hour and got to chat to a few folk afterwards.

Big thanks to Helen and Johanna for inviting me, to our lovely librarian hosts, and to everyone who came along to read/listen.

If you’re ever in the vicinity on the first Wednesday of the month, check it out.


  1. I love that library in Palmerston North – they call it a ‘hub’ – a place to come and relax – a kind of home away from home – there are even showers. The events are fantastic – hosted by the vibrant Genny Vella – and with a lovely energy around them. And so fab to have a bookshop down below, and they invite it in to sell books… Sounds like you had a great time Janice.

  2. I, like you, had a great time when I read as part of Stand Up Poetry, liked the Library a lot, and felt very well welcomed and looked after; and I, like you, struggled to find the Library when I got there!

    I’m glad it went so well.

  3. Hi Janice

    Sorry I’m a bit slow – I just found your blog post about your experience of stand up poetry at our library in July. If you ever feel the urge to write something you’d be most welcome to do a guest blog or just write something on our Facebook page.



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