Poetry gifted to the nation on Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day

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Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day celebrates 20 years on Friday 25 August and gifts to the nation, inaugural online poetry Collection 20/20.

The 20/20 Collection features poems by many of New Zealand’s best loved poets, including C. K. Stead, who ends his two-year stint as Poet Laureate on Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day. Stead was one of 20 acclaimed poets asked to select one of their own poems for inclusion in 20/20, as well as a poem by their favourite or emerging poet. The 40 poems that complete the Collection reflect the diversity and vibrancy of our literary talent. The 20/20 Collection is free to download here

The acclaimed poets featured in the 20/20 Collection are: Jenny Bornholdt and the poet she chose, 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.

The 20/20 Collection features work by living New Zealand poets with one exception: Tusiata Avia’s selection of a poem by Teresia Teaiwa. Sadly, Teresia died of cancer in March, aged just 48. She was a much loved and influential figure in Pacific studies, and ​the New Zealand Book Awards Trust committee, who convene Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day, hopes that her inclusion in 20/20 encourages more people to seek out her important creative and critical work.

Award-winning writer and Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day spokesperson, Paula Morris says, “Lots of people do talk about this as being a really great time for poetry in New Zealand, and one reason is that there are a lot of new young voices coming out that really reflect New Zealand as it is now. You see a huge amount of diversity; you see younger people writing and publishing books and younger people appearing on stage, and you see Asian writers and Pasifika writers and Maori writers. Poetry is where they are often first emerging.”

To celebrate Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day, many of the 20/20 poets will take part in more than 100 events nationwide. For full information, including places, venues, times, tickets and more, go here

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