Tag Archives: Phantom Billstickers

2017 National Poetry Day calendar launched




To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day offers its most ambitious and wide-ranging programme of events yet.

This year’s packed programme features more than 100 dynamic and accessible events, workshops and competitions, featuring acclaimed poets, new voices, young writers, and poetry enthusiasts. From Slam Poetry to sonnets, from stages to pavements, poetry will be created and enjoyed in a myriad of venues around the country: cafes, bars, schools, university campuses, community centres, retirement villages, marae, libraries and theatres – as well as on buses, trains and ferries.

For full information about all events, including places, venues, times, tickets and more, go to the Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2017 Calendar of Events.

Wanaka Library is popping for Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day

… love all the creative energy libraries are putting into our national poetry celebrations


Book Spine Poetry Display at Wanaka Library

This fun and quirky display will have you coming back for more. Pop in each day during Wanaka Library’s week of National Poetry Day celebrations and see what the Wanaka library staff, have put together. The idea is simple and fun, it involves stacking books in a particular order so the titles on the book spines create a poem. A display for all to enjoy! This is a great chance to come in to Wanaka Library and get some inspiration for your own poetry writing. See if you would have arranged the titles in a different way, and what other poems you would make out of the spine poetry on display.


Entry Details: Free. Open to all ages. This is a free to view on going display for the week of National Poetry Day.


Date/Times: Monday 22nd August – Friday 26th August. Open during regular library opening hours: Mon-Wed 9:00am – 5:30pm; Thurs 9:00am – 7:00pm; Fri 9:00am – 5:30pm; Sat 10:00am – 5:00pm


Location: Wanaka Library, 1 Bullock Creek Lane, Wanaka
Contact: Eve Marshall-Lea / eve.marshhall-lea@qldc.govt.nz
Further Info  or here

Cool idea: A Dunedin Poem for Poetry Day needs Dunedin help

Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day

The Dunedin Poem
26th August is National Poetry Day! Celebrate by helping to create a poem for Dunedin by Dunedin. Local poet Diane Brown has gifted the first line of this new poem. You are invited to write the next line. Throughout National Poetry Day 2016, the poem will grow, and Dunedin Public Libraries will design a poster of the finished version to display.
Entry Details: Free. All welcome to contribute (no offensive language, please).
Date/Times: Friday 26th August, 9.30am-8pm
Locations: All Dunedin Public Libraries
– Mosgiel Library, 7 Hartstonge Avenue, Mosgiel
– Dunedin City Library, 230 Moray Place, Dunedin
– Port Chalmers Library, 20 Beach Street, Port Chalmer
– Blueskin Bay Library, 28 Harvey Street, Waitati
– Waikouaiti Library, 192 Main Road, Waikouaiti
Contact: Kay Mercer Library@dcc.govt.nz 03 474 3690


see here

Great news: New partnership powers up National Poetry Day

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National Poetry Day always demonstrates the wide reach of poetry in New Zealand. All manner of events and poets tumble into vision and hearing. Phantom Billstickers is a tireless promoter of NZ poetry. This partnership has to be good. Bravo NZ Book Awards Trust for this grand idea!


This terrific news is just out:

In its 19th year, National Poetry Day — the biggest nationwide poetry event of the year —will be boosted by the partnership between the New Zealand Book Awards Trust and Phantom Billstickers, with a sponsorship agreement announced today.

The highly popular and eclectic National Poetry Day will now be known as Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day and will continue to bring poetry to the people, with over 80 events held nationwide, involving everyone from seasoned award winners to aspiring poets facing the microphone for the first time. Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day will be held on Friday August 26 this year and continue the day’s legacy of taking poetry to the people from Kerikeri to Southland, across the streets of small towns and major cities.

“It’s an opportunity to hear more poetry. There’s the possibility to take it back to the regions that built us,” says Jim Wilson, owner of Phantom, “We’ve been putting the New Zealand voice out there for some time. Now with this exciting partnership that voice will become louder.”

Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day is about discovery, diversity, community and pushing boundaries. Poetry enthusiasts generate events such as slams, poetry-music jams, poetry art exhibitions, performance poetry, poetry and dance, poetry street chalking, bookshop and library readings, open mic events and poetry writing competitions.

Nicola Legat, chair of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust says “We have long admired Phantom’s commitment to putting poems on posters and in cafes via their Café Reader. They are a natural partner given that Phantom’s business is taking messages to the streets and that’s what the New Zealand Book Awards Trust aspires to do with poetry.”


Phantom Billstickers   http://0800phantom.co.nz/   is a street poster company which since 1982 has consistently helped Kiwis express themselves. Recognising and supporting home grown talent has always sat comfortably alongside its commercial campaign work. Phantom actively promotes New Zealand music, art, poetry and culture around the country and across the world, putting poetry on posters and a literary mix of work into cafes via its quarterly magazine the Phantom Billstickers Café Reader. Phantom makes New Zealand’s streets livelier by taking the creative arts into public spaces.

The New Zealand Book Awards Trust   www.nzbookawards.nz  was established as a charitable trust in 2014 to govern and manage the country’s two major literary awards and National Poetry Day, and to ensure their longevity and credibility. New sponsorship agreements have now been secured for all three properties with Ockham supporting the Book Awards, Hell Pizza backing the Children’s and Young Adult awards via its support of the Reading Challenge and Children’s Choice programmes and Phantom National Poetry Day. Additional funders include The Acorn Foundation, Book Tokens Ltd, Creative NZ, Copyright Licensing Ltd NZ , the Fernyhough Education Foundation, Nielsen and Wellington City Council, supporting specific aspects of the properties.


Phantom Billstickers seeks poetry submissions – particularly by women

Message from Karen Ferns:

The New Zealand Book Awards Trust (NZBAT)  has been talking to The company Phantom Billstickers  a prominent street poster company who also invest some of their time and energy -into producing poems on posters and a café reader they produce and distribute quarterly. The café reader is edited by David Eggleton and contains poetry, short fiction and non-fiction.

As we have talked together NZBAT have discovered Phantom would like more submissions  from poets and writers. They want more submissions from women as currently they receive more submissions from men, but are also  interested in widening their  talent pool in a variety of ways so anything goes.

The email to send submission to is submissions-cafereader@0800phantom.co.nz

Poetry Shelf interviews Jim Wilson from Phantom Billstickers for National Poetry Day

To celebrate National Poetry Day I decided to do two things. Post a poem by the fabulous poet, Tusiata Avia, and run an interview with poetry benefactor extraordinaire, Jim Wilson.

Jim Wilson started Phantom Billstickers, a street-media company, in New Zealand in 1982. His aim was to draw audiences to music events and the wider arts. Since then he has started the Phantom Billstickers Poetry Project to ‘to use posters to share the hearts and minds of the Kiwi poet with people outside of New Zealand.’ Over the past five years the posters have gone up in cities across the world (Amsterdam, Barcelona, Chicago, Clarksdale (Mississippi), Glasgow, Hong Kong, London, NYC, Paris, Singapore, Sydney, and Vienna, among many others) and back home. They are pasted on walls, poles and in cafes and have featured an electric and vital feast of New Zealand poems and poets. He is an unsung hero of NZ poetry and it is time to sing his praises. I love the idea of poems appearing like glowing beacons in all kinds of surprising places. I love the idea that you can stand in a public place and stop in the midst of urban hubbub and get hooked it into a poetry gem. So thank you Jim Wilson. We salute you on National Poetry Day!

DSC01977  jim photo

All photo credits: Jim and Kelly Wilson

In a video interview, you say you want ‘to play it by my heart.’ The picking of poems. The putting up of posters. ‘Heart’ seems like a vital word when it comes to poetry. I also like the way it hides the word ‘ear’ and the word ‘art.’ Even the generosity of sharing our poetry around resonates with heart. What made you decide to put poems on posters?

I was going through a difficult stage in my life having been through two courses of interferon (for Hepatitis C) and having lost some key people in my life. I became clinically depressed and was looking for something ‘real’. I began reading Janet Frame again and then poetry. Then I thought I should take something meaningful into the streets. Poetry was it.

Reading poetry is usually such a private, intimate thing. I love the way your poem posters bring reading out into the open. Does the public airing affect your choices of poems?

I always try and give people pause to reflect. I am very intrigued by the idea of ‘beauty’. We live in such a caustic world and I aim for beauty. Some of our poems may have an anguished twist to them but I try to stay away from venting poems.


I saw two men reading my poem on the pavement in Kitchener Street once. I hesitated and then told them I was the poet. They slapped their knees and whooped. Two Irish guys just off a ship. They thought Auckland was full of culture. Hilarious! ‘Get out of here!’ they kept saying. ‘Get out of here!’ Have you ever witnessed a stranger reading one of the poems?

I have seen lots of people stop and read the poem posters. I’ve seen groups of people gathering around lampposts in the USA reading our poem posters. Two separate places come immediately to mind, I saw a group gathered around a Michele Leggott poem poster in Northern Liberties in Philadelphia and then some people gathered around a pole in Lambertville, New Jersey. This is very gratifying.

FINAL JPEGNew Hope Poster-INTL   asburypark

Indeed. What kind of reactions are you after?

I like it when people look internally and feel something real. I imagine that’s what they do when they read poetry. I hope that’s the case at any rate.

Where is the most surprising place you have seen one of your poem posters?

You are asking me where I have been particularly happy to put a poem poster? I have been putting up posters for bands and the like since I was 16 years old. I am now 63 and I have heard the words ‘you can’t put that there’ more than anyone in New Zealand, I am sure. I was delighted to get a Hone Tuwhare poem poster right opposite the main gates of Parchman Farm (The Mississippi Federal Penitentiary) in Mississippi. You aren’t allowed to stop on that road for a mile or so either side of the main gates, but I did and the screws came running. The poem poster went up! Also I did a lot of Janet Frame poem posters in Baltimore and at Princeton University. I felt every single one I put up.

There are a thousand ways to write a poem (no rules, no recipes which is what is so appealing), yet poetry stalls each of us in different ways. What stops you in your tracks when you read a poem? Any examples?

I wouldn’t know what iambic pentameter is from a hole in the ground and I don’t know how poetry works, but I ‘feel’ it. In Tusiata Avia’s poems I feel every word (check out today’s Friday Poem I have posted by her!). I also feel everything Gerald Stern writes and Ben Brown too.



Yes! ironically words take you beyond words. On occasion you have launched a poster-poem series (for example in Christchurch, Auckland and New York). This brings the ‘ear’ of heart into play more. Hearing a poem read aloud means you get to play it in the poet’s voice from then on if you like. Have any poems had a new affect on you when you heard them performed?

Some of the best ‘readers’ I have seen are not the best poets. Reading is a ‘performance art’. Ben Brown combines both worlds I think. He sets the walls on fire.

Tusiata is like this. And Bill Manhire. When he reads a poem like ‘Hotel Emergencies’ time stops. Did you read poetry as a child (lay down rhymes and rhythms that stuck with you) or did you come to it later in life?

I probably read a lot of poetry when I was a kid but my dad read William Faulkner and he resonated in our house. Like I say, I don’t know iambic pentameter from a hole in the ground but I do think Bob Dylan liberated us all to be poets. I find more in poetry each and every day. I find my history in James K. Baxter.

Nice. I like  that idea. Poetry has many functions. What American poets are in your memory banks that you love?

I love Mathew Dickman who has just signed with our project and a San Francisco poet called August Kleinzahler who is now also involved. I remember seeing the emails from Lawrence Ferlinghetti himself when he became involved and that was profoundly moving. I also spent a bit of time with Gerald Stern and he has read to me lots of times. That experience is gold in the bank. Also to have involved people like Robert Creeley (we had the ‘sign off’ from Penelope Creeley), Jim Harrison, C.K. Williams, Robert Pinsky and W.S. Merwin… All this has lead me to think we are doing something with real purpose.

Ben Brown Mt Rushmore 

What New Zealand poets are in your memory banks that you love?

Tusiata Avia, Hinemoana Baker, James K. Baxter, Ben Brown, Bill Direen, David Eggleton, Sam Hunt, Frankie McMillan, Dave Merritt, Elizabeth Smither, Marty Smith, Hone Tuwhare… There are just so many of them…We have produced poems by just over 100 different Kiwi poets (from memory). This country has some of the very best poets in the world and I don’t know exactly how you measure their work… But if you feel something on the reading then that is good enough for me. As I keep on saying, I scarcely know anything about ‘technique’ and this is probably my strong suit.

If you were to describe poetry written in New Zealand to an American poetry fan, what sorts of things might you say?

That it is of the earth. That it is on the ground. That it all comes from being in a natural country and stranded in paradise.

Are you drawn to write poems? Or anything else?

I do a lot of writing and feel daunted almost every time I see a fresh poem poster come to us.

Poetry has many functions: to tell miniature stories, to make music, to make connections, to move people, to challenge people, to show the world in new lights, to share ideas, to speak out in a political way to surprise people, to soothe people, to startle people, to make people laugh. For a start! What functions matter to you?

That it all takes your body before it takes your mind.

If you had a completely free day today (NZ Poetry Day), and you could sit and read poetry all day long, what would you read?

Ben Brown, Tusiata Avia… Mixed with P. Larkin, Gerard Manley Hopkins, E.E. Cummings… Not to be traitorous but even if they are not Kiwis they are still pretty good.

If you were trapped somewhere (in a lift, in a waiting room, in an airport,) what poetry book would you read?

Always had to pick one. James K. Baxter’s Oxford Press collection. That’ll stop you being annoyed and ‘bring you back to yourself’.


Thanks Jim Wilson!


The Story of the Poster Poem on YouTube

The Poetry Project