Slam, slam … & thank you Mams – Vaughan Rapatahana’s take on Slam Poetry & NZ stalwarts


Vaughan Rapatahana has just posted a piece on Jacket2 that casts a spotlight on various poetry activities in New Zealand. Great to see. Thanks, too, for the thumbs up Vaughan.

‘In this, my last commentary post of this series — apart from a brief Coda next week — I want to talk about two distinct areas of the Aotearoa-New Zealand poetry scene that I have alluded to previously, but nor really covered copiously as yet.

One is the vital and brimming Poetry Slam situation in this multicultural land — a scene that is really expanding fast, most particularly among younger poets, and certainly among Polynesian poets who tend not to live in stuffy urban areas, but more likely in places like Mangere, where I grew up. I reckon this bodes extremely well for the future of (their) primarily oral-delivery focussed work, for they seem less interested in being seen in print in established/mainstream journals and much more energized by the live performance, the audience, the competition, the sometimes Americano rap/hip-hop, often Pasifika, definite ngā mōteatea rhythms and beats running through their pieces. Mind you, some DO already have print collections out there … Kei te tino pai tēnei (This is very good.)’


and part two:


‘So I also want to focus on another essential aspect of New Zealand’s poetry scene — the Stalwarts, the people — very often women, thank you Mams, who keep poetry in this country alive and kicking via their commitment to writing about it; reviewing it as in the several online blogs, like The Tuesday Poem as organised by Mary [McCallum] and Claire Beynon, which ‘carries a poem and commentary on the poet’s work every Tuesday’; publicizing it; organising it — often  regionally: mostly unpaid and as dedicated labours of love.’


Full blog here

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