The poets among us: Our literary librarians

Today is the 25th anniversary of Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day, and as part of our celebration we’re highlighting the emerging talents within our own ranks. When these writers aren’t penning new poems or performing live, they double as our Librarians, who help connect their local communities to the literary world they are a part of.

We open with Emma Rattenbury’s swirling and almost melancholic interior insights, before diving into Jo McNeice’s subtle and tender homage to Aro Valley. Rogelio Guedea’s work follows, which intimately speaks to bridging the gaps between countries, language and the fissures of love. Alayne Dick takes us on a comedic trip, wryly losing keys and thoughts along the way, as she careens through an endless stream of apt questioning. Belinda Davis then turns a familiar and mundane suburban sight into a sweeping story that you can feel twisting and turning around you. And be sure to catch Tarns Hood’s slam poem finale, it’s truly epic. Full of building energy, she hits the nail on the head of all our frustrations and knocks her performance out of the park.

Enjoy the broad array of voices and styles that these six creatives embrace, as they perform an original work for National Poetry Day. We encourage you to discover, support and enhance Wellingtonian voices across the city today, to share in the joys and power of poetry.

To experience a bi-lingual poetry reading today, drop by Waitohi Johnsonville Library at 3:30pm, to see Rogelio Guedea perform works from his new poetry collection ‘O me voy o te vas / One of us must go’ (2022) in Spanish and English, accompanied by live music.



Belinda Davis (she/her/ia) is a long-time librarian, singer, poet, writer and comedian. Performing regularly at the Fringe Bar and elsewhere, she is published in journals all over her house.

Alayne Dick is  is a writer and performer based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/ Wellington, New Zealand. Her poems have been featured in Cordite Poetry Review, Sport and Stasis. She has performed her poetry live on Radio New Zealand and had a poem featured on musician Pickle Darling’s album ‘Cosmonaut’. Alayne will be performing her set ‘Deep and Meaningful’ at Sydney Fringe Festival on 13 -17 September 2022.

Rogelio Guedea is a Mexican-born poet and novelist of more than 40 books. His poetry collection ‘Kora’ was awarded the prestigious Spanish Premio Adonáis de Poesía in 2008, and in 2013 his novel, ‘El crimen de Los Tepames (Mondadori)’, was one of the top five best-selling novels in Mexico. Rogelio is currently based in Wellington and is the director of The New Zealand Hispanic Press.

Tarns Hood is a Wellington based Performance Poet and the 2019 AND 2020 Wellington Regional Poetry Slam Champion! Her poetic works focus around addiction, mental health, being oddly observant and general irreverence. Tarns performs at festivals, variety shows, fundraisers, competitions and corporate events. She’s a frequent contributor to NZPS and Regenerate Magazine and her words have been heard across local and national radio.

Jo McNeice has a Masters in Creative Writing from Te Pūtahi Tuhi Auaha o Te Ao, Te Herenga Waka/International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington.  Her poems have appeared in Turbine/Kapohau, Sport, Mayhem and JAAM.

Emma Rattenbury was born and bred in Taranaki, is a graduate of VUW’s MFA Theatre Programme and is now living in Pōneke. Emma’s work includes ‘The Secret Lives of Sixteen Year Old Girls’ (BATS Theatre), and ‘Wonderkind’ (Circa Theatre) from the newly established Wonderlight Theatre Aotearoa. Her play ‘Weed Wacker’ won ‘Best Original Script & Production – New NZ Short Plays’ at the Manawatu Theatre Awards. She is a member of Long Cloud Youth Theatre.