Poetry Shelf celebrates Phantom National Poetry Day with eight poets reading a poem

my current POETRY reading pile selected from my current POETRY tower

Initially I invited three poets, whose poetry I love, to do a reading for a small Phantom National Poetry Day celebration on Poetry Shelf. But when I felt we’d be in an extended lockdown, and our fabulous physical Poetry Day events would need virtual reinvention, I made a larger gathering. I have so loved listening to the readings as they arrived. Sitting at the kitchen table, transported so beautifully.

I am sad that a magnificent list of national events can’t take place physically, but I am glad I can tune into things today I wouldn’t have seen or heard. Exciting! Check out virtual Phantom National Poetry Day events here.

To celebrate poetry in Aotearoa, I have a few more copies of Wild Honey: Reading NZ Women’s Poetry to give away (only in NZ). Leave a comment here, on FB or Twitter or email me.

I also want to make up a few poetry-book care packages. If you are in need of a poetry boost let me know (only in NZ). I won’t be able to send anything until Auckland moves to Level 3.

Help our publishers and booksellers by ordering a poetry book online today!

NZ POETRY BOX Phantom National Poetry Day celebration: If you have children who like writing poems you might like to check out my suite of children’s authors reading a poem and my galaxy of hidden poem challenges. I will post poems and have books to give away. Here And my National Poetry Day guide for children.

Grateful thanks to all the poets who recorded a poem or two.

If I have made mistakes, I would be grateful if let me know, as I seem to be a continued state of drift and daze.

HAPPY POETRY DAY – Keep safe, be kind on yourself as well as others.

The readings

Sue Wootton reads three poems

Photo credit: Doug Lilly

Sue Wootton reads ‘Tauranga’, ‘The Knitters’ and ”Poem on the shortest day’ (all appeared in takahē101)

Anuja Mitra reads two poems

Anuja Mitra reads two poems: ‘To You, in Late July’ (published in the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook 2020) and ‘Home, Seen From a Distance’ (published in Signals)

Louise Wallace

Photo credit: Grant Maiden

Louise Wallace reads ‘The Happy Poem’ (Enough, Victoria University Press, 2013)

Chris Tse

Chris Tse reads ‘Red—Life & Courage’

Modi Deng

Photo credit: Mikayla Bollen

Modi Deng reads ‘tell me’ and ‘tomorrow will be the same but not as this is’ (AUP New Poets 8, Auckland University Press, forthcoming)

Lily Holloway

Photo credit: Angela Zhang

Lily Holloway reads ‘hopscotch’ and ‘stocktaking during venlafaxine discontinuation’ (AUP NEW Poets 8, Auckland University Press, forthcoming) and ‘Imagined heterosexuality with you, my ex who won’t stop calling’ (Cordite Poetry Review: GAME, August 2021)

Tate Fountain

Photo credit: Andi Crown

Tate Fountain reads ‘Red’, Yellow’ and ‘Blue’ from ‘COLOUR THEORY (PRIMARY)’ (Min-a-rets Annexe), and ‘Iterations’ (Starling 11).

Emma Neale

Photo credit: Caroline Davies

Emma Neale reads ‘Withdrawn’ (To the Occupant, Otago University Press, 2019)

The poets

Modi Deng is a postgraduate candidate in piano performance at the Royal Academy of Music on scholarship. Currently based in London, Modi received a MMus (First Class Hons, Marsden research scholarship) and a BA from Auckland University. Her first chapbook-length collection of poetry will be part of AUP New Poets 8. She cares deeply about literature (especially poetry, diaspora), music, psychology, and her family.

Tate Fountain is a writer, performer, and graduate teaching assistant based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She has been published in Agenda, the Min-a-rets Annexe, and others, and her short fiction was highly commended in the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Competition (2020). She is now on the Editorial Committee for Starling, which means Francis and Louise have a reprieve from having to format her poetry for the web.

Lily Holloway is a queer nacho-enthusiast. She is forthcoming in AUP New Poets 8 and you can find her work here. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @milfs4minecraft.

Anuja Mitra lives in Auckland. Her writing has appeared in Cordite, Takahe, Mayhem, Starling, Signals, Sweet Mammalian, Poetry Shelf and The Three Lamps, as well as the recently-launched A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand. She writes theatre and poetry reviews for Theatre Scenes and the New Zealand Poetry Society. She enjoys eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and petting her small colony of cats, both of which she is probably doing to procrastinate writing.

Emma Neale lives in Otepoti/Dunedin, where she works as an editor and writer. She has published 6 novels and 6 collections of poetry and her first book of short fiction, The Pink Jumpsuit, is due out from Quentin Wilson Publishing this year.

Chris Tse is the author of two poetry collections published by Auckland University Press – How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes (winner of Best First Book of Poetry at the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards) and HE’S SO MASC – and is co-editor of the forthcoming Out Here: An Anthology of Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ Writers From Aotearoa.

Louise Wallace is the author of three collections of poetry published by Victoria University Press, most recently Bad Things. She is the founder and editor of Starling and is currently working on a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Otago. She is spending the level 4 lockdown at home with her partner and young son on the Otago Peninsula.

Sue Wootton’s novel Strip (Mākaro Press) was longlisted for the 2017 Ockham NZ Book Awards, and her most recent poetry collection, The Yield (OUP)was a finalist in these awards in 2018. She was the 2008 Robert Burns Fellow, and held the 2018/19 NZSA Beatson Fellowship. She was awarded the 2020 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship. Sue lives in Ōtepoti-Dunedin where she is the recently-appointed Publisher at Otago University Press. 

The poems in Sue’s recording were published in takahē 101. ‘Tauranga’ is after ‘Watching for dolphins’ by David Constantine. ‘The knitters’ is for Dunedin-based artist Michele Beevors, creator of a series of life-sized, anatomically-accurate knitted sculptures of animals, especially extinct and threatened species. ‘Poem on the shortest day’ was written in June 2020, and responds to events of that year, especially the pandemic lockdowns and the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder.  

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