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Lots of poetry coming up next week! First up there’s this on Monday (that I will be reading at if my cold has disappeared by then)

Image may contain: one or more people and textNZSA Poetry Reading + Open Mic (warm-up event)
Join the New Zealand Society of Authors, Wellington branch, as we celebrate Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2019. We’re inviting poets from our branch to read their poetry, and will also feature an open mic on the night.
Entry details: Koha. Everyone welcome!
Date/times: Monday, 19 August, 6pm – 8pm (Socialising from 5.30pm)
Location: Vic Books, Pipitea campus, Rutherford House (27 Lambton Quay, Wellington, near the railway station)
Further info: Facebook/wellington.writers.9 |

National Poetry DayThen there are lots of fabulous events all around the country on National Poetry Day which you can find out about here:

And next Sunday, I will be reading at the Open Book on Ponsonby Road in Auckland. This is from the Open Book website:

Readings from the Geometry | Open Book National Poetry Contest

Celebrate National Poetry Day with Geometry and The Open Book.

Come along to hear the winner and the judges’ selection from submissions to our poetry competition. Plus snacks and maybe a glass of wine if you are lucky.

With readings of work by:

Janis Freegard (the winner!)

and (the Judges’ list):

* Dadon Rowell
* Hannah Lees
* Jordan Hamel
* Paula Harris
* Rebecca Hawkes

Sunday August 25, 3pm

Winner published in Geometry Issue Six. Judges’ selection published here.

Hope to see you there!wild words

It’s National Poetry Day in New Zealand on Friday and there are poetry events across the country. Here’s the full calendar of events and a link to the Facebook page.

I will be reading at an event in Lower Hutt on Friday evening. Here’s more:

Poems of Place; Landscape Poetry and Open Mic
We live in a land of hills, river and sea. We experience wild changes in our weather and our remoteness affects who we are as a people in Aotearoa, New Zealand.  Much of our literature and poetry reflects our unique landscape. This National Poetry Day event held in Lower Hutt will feature writers reading their landscape poetry and reflecting on what this means for them. There will be an opportunity during the open mic for people to read their own or their favourite author’s poetry on the subject of nature, landscape and the environment. Everyone is welcome, poets, poetry-lovers and those interested in the local environment. Featuring the poets Anne Powell, Harvey Molloy, Kerry Hines, Keith Westwater, Tim Jones, Adrienne Jansen, Kerry Popplewell, Keith Johnson and Janis Freegard.

Entry Details: Free. Open to all ages. Sign up for the open mic on the night.
Date/Times: 28 August, 7.30 – 9.30pm.
Location: St Marks Complex 58 Woburn Road, Lower Hutt. Opposite the Lower Hutt Library

Further Info:


Te Rerenga Wairua / Cape Reinga

Happy Poetry Day!  Here’s a poem I wrote after Rhian Gallagher’s excellent reading at Massey University last July.

The Lift
(for Anna Jackson)


it had been one of those days
that was part of one of those weeks, those months
where people seemed angry
& I felt like the last runner in the relay race
taking the blame for not getting the baton
over the finish line fast enough
everyone scolding
I was worn down by it, diminished
& to top it off, the bus sailed past without seeing me
and I was late for the reading, another failure

so when Anna offered me a lift home
I could have cried
because it was the first nice thing
that had happened that day
so much bigger than a ride in a car
it was all about standing alone
in a big grey city
and somebody suddenly
handing you marigolds


There are poetry events all around the country for National Poetry Day and if you’re in Whanganui tomorrow, it would be great to see you at the Sarjeant.



I have a couple of readings coming up that I’m very excited about.  The first is at the Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui, part of a celebration of Robin Hyde‘s work, in association with National Poetry Day (although it will actually be the day after National Poetry Day).

Sat 17th Aug, 2:30 pm
Sarjeant Gallery Elements Cafe 26 Victoria St, Whanganui
A celebration of the work of Robin Hyde with readings by Glenn Colquhoun, Janis Freegard, Redmer Yska & Dr Mary Paul
The second is in Dunedin, at Circadian Rhythm.  It will also feature David Howard and an open mic.

Weds 21st August 8pm

Circadian Rhythm cafe


English: Image of the Full Moon rising over Te...

English: Image of the Full Moon rising over Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) taken by Paul Moss 2002. Camera Pentax ME super, positive transparency. Deutsch: Vollmond über dem neuseeländischen Nationalmuseum Te Papa in Wellington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next Monday (23rd July 12:15pm), I will be in fine poetic company, reading at Te Papa in a curtain-raiser for National Poetry Day.  (OK, the moon won’t be rising in the night sky, but I liked the photo and it was in the public domain).  The other poets are Hera Lindsay Bird, Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle, Rob Hack, Dinah Hawken, Anna Jackson, Helen Lehndorf, Kate McKinstry, Bill Manhire, Harvey Molloy, Marty Smith, Ranui Taiapa and Tim Upperton, and we will be reading our Best New Zealand Poems from the 2011 online collection.

The event has previously been advertised as being in the marae at Te Papa, but please note there has a venue change and it will instead be held in the Telstra Clear Centre at Te Papa: go to Level 3, turn left out of the lift and walk over the bridge.  Hope to see you there!  This part of the IIML’s “Writers on Monday” series, which features many other fine lunchtime events.

Friday 27th, National Poetry Day, will see many other events around the country – NZ Booksellers has a list of what’s on.

So, no poem from me today, but there is always the Best NZ Poems site and of course, the other Tuesday Poems.



It’s film festival time in Wellington (yay!) and as usual, we are spoilt for choice. So far I’ve seen Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work – a great doco about that ground-breaking comedienne; The Illusionist – a fabulous animated film about the friendship between a French magician and a naive young Scottish woman who thinks his magic is real (based on script by Jacques Tati); and, yesterday, the wonderful HOWL.

Photo from MDCarchives, Wikimedia Commons

HOWL is a great mix of the (acted) original performance of Allen Ginsberg’s poem in 1955, the story of his life around that time and the writing of the poem, a re-enactment of the obscenity trial (featuring Madmen‘s Jon Hamm) and an animation of the poem. Very well done. I could easily watch it again. It’s on again in Wellington tomorrow (Sunday 25th July) if you missed it.

And we have our tickets for next week’s Sam Hunt: Purple Balloon and other Stories which will be a nice lead-in to National Poetry Day (Friday 30th July). Loads going on – click here for the details Wellington has (amongst other things) a couple of open mics (Museum of City & Sea and the Newtown Public Library) and an interesting sounding event at Betty’s Bar in Blair St, from 8pm. Can’t wait!



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December 2020

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