Phantom National Poetry Day: Librarians’ Picks

Today is Phantom National Poetry Day – a one-day national poetry extravaganza to celebrate the poetry of Aotearoa. We’re always in the mood for poetry and we love the opportunity to revisit old favourites and discover new gems. Here, our librarians have shared some of their picks:

Celeste’s Pick:
Big weather : poems of Wellington
“Since the nineteenth century, Wellington has been the site and object of much literary activity and never more so than now. Where many of New Zealand’s leading poets once wandered, frequenting bars, delivering mail up the steepest of streets, raising their children in the suburbs, today’s XY generation are now vividly, energetically present, and recent poetry has kept track of the changing inner and outer life of the city. BIG WEATHER: Poems of Wellington captures the vivacity and diversity of the capital.” (adapted from catalogue)

Fiona’s Pick:
Other animals / Lloyd, Therese
“Focused on the theme of a well-lived life, Other Animals is the powerful and provocative first book from one of New Zealand’s most exciting new poets. With a uniquely lyrical voice, these works find their ways towards ideas of beauty, wisdom, and, ultimately, to a sense of joy in the world that only poetry can bring.” (Catalogue)

 

Susannah’s Pick:
Cat world : poems on cats / Jeune, Margaret
“Cat World by Margaret Jeune is a collection of poems about cats drawn from the author’s personal experiences as a cat owner and carer over many years.” (Catalogue)

This is Susannah’s cat Kedi, who is not included in the collection but who seconds Susannah’s purrrrfect choice.


Paige’s Pick:

Head girl / Sadgrove, Freya Daly
“‘The first time I read Freya’s work I thought . . . uh oh. And then I thought, you have got to be kidding me. And then I thought, God dammit. And then I walked around the house shaking my head thinking . . . OK – alright. And then – finally – I thought, well well well – like a smug policeman. Listen – she’s just the best. I’m going to say this so seriously. She is, unfortunately, the absolute best. Trying to write a clever blurb for her feels like an insult to how right and true and deadly this collection is. God, she’s just so good. She kills me always, every time, and forever.’ -Hera Lindsay Bird” (adapted from catalogue)

Alex’s Pick:
Under glass / Kan, Gregory
“A dialogue between a series of prose poems, following a protagonist through a mysterious and threatening landscape, and a series of verse poems, driven by the speaker’s compulsive hunger to make sense of things”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)
Also available on Libby as an eBook.

 

Gábor’s Pick:
Postscripts / Sturm, J. C
J. C. Sturm was the writing name of Jacquie Baxter who for many years was the New Zealand Room librarian at the old Wellington Central Library. Postscripts is Sturm’s second book of poetry after Dedications (1996), though her work had appeared in numerous anthologies and journals as far back as 1947. Her poems cover a wide range of human experience, are often compelling, largely autobiographical and sometimes have a profoundly emotional impact as she reviews a life of loss and love, youth and age as seen from both Māori and Pakeha perspectives.

Neil’s Pick:
Reading the signs / Freegard, Janis
“The poems in Janis Freegard’s new collection take their starting point from the poet’s daily ritual of reading the tea leaves while writing in the Ema Saiko room in the Wairarapa. Reading the Signs is a series of linked poems that are thoughtful and humorous, provocative and tender, and come together as a quiet epic about a planet that is fast running out of puff.” (adapted from catalogue)

 

Steph’s Pick: (an old favourite and a new favourite, because choosing only one is impossible)
Fast talking PI / Marsh, Selina Tusitala
“‘Tusitala’ means writer of tales in Samoan, and Marsh here lives up to her name with stories of her life, her family, community, ancestry, and history. Her poetry is sensuous and strong, using lush imagery, clear rhythms and repetitions to power it forward. Her work deals specifically with issues that affect Pacific communities in New Zealand and indigenous peoples elsewhere, most recently focusing on the challenges and triumphs of being afakasi.” (adapted from the catalogue) – Also available on Libby as an eBook.

The savage coloniser book / Avia, Tusiata
“The voices of Tusiata Avia are infinite. She ranges from vulnerable to forbidding to celebratory with forms including pantoums, prayers and invocations. And in this electrifying new work, she gathers all the power of her voice to speak directly into histories of violence. The Savage Coloniser Book is a personal and political reckoning. As it holds history accountable, it rises in power.” (adapted from catalogue)

 

Special Mention:
Our very own poetry publication, Tūhono, is full of poems written by children and young adults of Pōneke on the theme of tūhono – connection, and we could all do with more of that right now. Find this heart-warming collection on Libby, there are 500(!) available to lend.

Tūhono. a journal of poetry by children and teens / 2020 :
“Tūhono : connection. This is the theme that binds together all 197 poems you are about to read, which were contributed by young Wellington writers aged 5-18 and collected by Wellington City Libraries throughout the month of November 2020. The year 2020 was challenging for many people. Some had to spend time apart from their friends and the people they love. Some had to find ways to live with uncertainty and the sense that everything might not be okay in the world. But taken together, these poems represent a constellation of thoughts, ideas, worries, anxieties, hopes, loves, and dreams about how we find ways to connect, even in the face of adversity.” (Catalogue)

It’s National Poetry Day!

It’s National Poetry Day and our exciting poetry event is happening today at 1pm! See below for the event details, and you can find more information on our blog.
Today’s fantastic featured poet is Janis Freegard. Enjoy, and we hope to see you in the library this afternoon!

Honey

It was manuka honey, the best kind
in a big, white plastic bucket, given to you
by someone with bees, because you’d been helpful,
so much honey, it might last a lifetime
and you being you, and maybe why I love you,
you spooned it out into carefully washed jars
for your uncle, your mother, your brothers,
our friend with the little boy, your mother’s neighbour
who had the birthday, all that honey, and after all
that you gave away, there was still so much left for us.

Janis Freegard

 

Details:

Friday 24 August, 1–3.30pm
Central Library, 65 Victoria Street

You can RSVP to this event on Facebook

Come along to hear poets from Mākaro Press, Fitzbeck Books and The Cuba Press bewitch, berate, busk and bewilder!

Featuring:
Mary Cresswell, Nicola Easthope, Jamie Trower, Janis Freegard, Tim Jones, John Boyd, Rob King, Richard Langston, Mary Mccallum, Anne Powell, John Howell, Peter Rawnsley, and Stefanie Lash.

Janis Freegard poem

1 day until National Poetry Day: Keith Westwater

National Poetry Day and our exciting poetry event are happening tomorrow! See below for the event details, and you can find more information on our blog.
Today’s fantastic featured poet is Keith Westwater.

Details:

Friday 24 August, 1–3.30pm
Central Library, 65 Victoria Street

You can RSVP to this event on Facebook

Come along to hear poets from Mākaro Press, Fitzbeck Books and The Cuba Press bewitch, berate, busk and bewilder!

Featuring:
Mary Cresswell, Nicola Easthope, Jamie Trower, Janis Freegard, Tim Jones, John Boyd, Rob King, Richard Langston, Mary Mccallum, Anne Powell, John Howell, Peter Rawnsley, and Stefanie Lash.

Keith Westwater poem

2 days until National Poetry Day: Helen Rickerby

There are two days to go until National Poetry Day and our exciting poetry event – see below for the event details, and you can find more information on our blog.
Today’s featured poet is Helen Rickerby – enjoy!

Details:

Friday 24 August, 1–3.30pm
Central Library, 65 Victoria Street

You can RSVP to this event on Facebook

Come along to hear poets from Mākaro Press, Fitzbeck Books and The Cuba Press bewitch, berate, busk and bewilder!

Featuring:
Mary Cresswell, Nicola Easthope, Jamie Trower, Janis Freegard, Tim Jones, John Boyd, Rob King, Richard Langston, Mary Mccallum, Anne Powell, John Howell, Peter Rawnsley, and Stefanie Lash.

Helen Rickerby poem

3 days until National Poetry Day: Peter Rawnsley

There are three days to go until National Poetry Day and our exciting poetry event – see below for the event details, and you can find more information on our blog.
Today’s wonderful featured poet is Peter Rawnsley.

Details:

Friday 24 August, 1–3.30pm
Central Library, 65 Victoria Street

You can RSVP to this event on Facebook

Come along to hear poets from Mākaro Press, Fitzbeck Books and The Cuba Press bewitch, berate, busk and bewilder!

Featuring:
Mary Cresswell, Nicola Easthope, Jamie Trower, Janis Freegard, Tim Jones, John Boyd, Rob King, Richard Langston, Mary Mccallum, Anne Powell, John Howell, Peter Rawnsley, and Stefanie Lash.

Peter Rawnsley poem

4 days until National Poetry Day: Mary McCallum

There are four days to go until National Poetry Day and our exciting poetry event – see below for the event details, and you can find more information on our blog.
Today’s featured poet is Mary McCallum – enjoy!

Details:

Friday 24 August, 1–3.30pm
Central Library, 65 Victoria Street

You can RSVP to this event on Facebook

Come along to hear poets from Mākaro Press, Fitzbeck Books and The Cuba Press bewitch, berate, busk and bewilder!

Featuring:
Mary Cresswell, Nicola Easthope, Jamie Trower, Janis Freegard, Tim Jones, John Boyd, Rob King, Richard Langston, Mary Mccallum, Anne Powell, John Howell, Peter Rawnsley, and Stefanie Lash.

5 days until National Poetry Day: Stefanie Lash

There are five days to go until National Poetry Day and our exciting poetry event – see below for the event details, and you can find more information on our blog.
Today’s featured poet is Stefanie Lash- enjoy!

Details:

Friday 24 August, 1–3.30pm
Central Library, 65 Victoria Street

You can RSVP to this event on Facebook

Come along to hear poets from Mākaro Press, Fitzbeck Books and The Cuba Press bewitch, berate, busk and bewilder!

Featuring:
Mary Cresswell, Nicola Easthope, Jamie Trower, Janis Freegard, Tim Jones, John Boyd, Rob King, Richard Langston, Mary Mccallum, Anne Powell, John Howell, Peter Rawnsley, and Stefanie Lash.

6 days until National Poetry Day: Tim Jones

There are six days to go until National Poetry Day and our exciting poetry event – see below for the event details, and you can find more information on our blog.
Today’s fantastic featured poet is Tim Jones.

Details:

Friday 24 August, 1–3.30pm
Central Library, 65 Victoria Street

You can RSVP to this event on Facebook

Come along to hear poets from Mākaro Press, Fitzbeck Books and The Cuba Press bewitch, berate, busk and bewilder!

Featuring:
Mary Cresswell, Nicola Easthope, Jamie Trower, Janis Freegard, Tim Jones, John Boyd, Rob King, Richard Langston, Mary Mccallum, Anne Powell, John Howell, Peter Rawnsley, and Stefanie Lash.

7 days until National Poetry Day: John Howell

There are seven days to go until National Poetry Day and our exciting poetry event – see below for the event details, and you can find more information on our blog.
Today’s featured poet is John Howell – enjoy!

Details:

Friday 24 August, 1–3.30pm
Central Library, 65 Victoria Street

You can RSVP to this event on Facebook

Come along to hear poets from Mākaro Press, Fitzbeck Books and The Cuba Press bewitch, berate, busk and bewilder!

Featuring:
Mary Cresswell, Nicola Easthope, Jamie Trower, Janis Freegard, Tim Jones, John Boyd, Rob King, Richard Langston, Mary Mccallum, Anne Powell, John Howell, Peter Rawnsley, and Stefanie Lash.

Counting down to National Poetry Day…

It’s National Poetry Day on the 24th of August, and we’ll be staging a very special celebration featuring some of our finest poets reading from their works.

Come along to hear poets from Mākaro Press, Fitzbeck Books and The Cuba Press bewitch, berate, busk and bewilder!

Details:

National Poetry Day

Friday 24 August, 1–3.30pm

Central Library, 65 Victoria Street

Featuring:

Mary Cresswell, Nicola Easthope, Jamie Trower, Janis Freegard, Tim Jones, John Boyd, Rob King, Richard Langston, Mary Mccallum, Anne Powell, John Howell, Peter Rawnsley, and Stefanie Lash.

To build up to this wonderful celebration of poetry we are going to feature a short poem from a few of the poets reading. Today’s wonderful poet is Mary Cresswell — enjoy!

National Poetry Day Celebrations this Friday

Syndetics book coverWellington City Libraries are pleased to be hosting Makaro Press poets celebrating National Poetry Day, this Friday 25th August at 1.00pm on the Ground floor of the Central Library.

Join us for this exciting event where 12 Wellington authors and poets will read from their work. Poets include: • Mary Cresswell • Lindsay Pope • Janis Freegard • Tim Jones • Harvey Molloy • Maggie Rainey-Smith • Keith Westwater • Pete Carter • Peter Stuart • Robyn Cooper • Helen Rickerby • Julie Hanify • Peter Rawnsley • Robin Peace • John Howell.

National Poetry Day is also being celebrated at Cummings Park Library, Ngaio with these two events:
Write and see: write poems responding to photos taken in our community, and see what others have written. Monday 14 – Monday 28 August.

Hear and read: on Friday 25th August, 7.30-9.30pm, come and hear poems by writers with connections to Ngaio and Crofton Downs, with Kerry Popplewell, Kate Spencer, John Howell, Janis Freegard, Carmen Downes and more. There will be an open mic and light refreshments.

More information on this annual event can be found at poetryday.co.nz

Our favourites for National Poetry Day!

To celebrate our national celebration of poetry, we compiled a list of some of our favourite poetry books and poets. First, books:

Syndetics book coverCollected poems, 1957-1982 / Wendell Berry.
“A longtime spokesman for conservation, common sense, and sustainable agriculture, Wendell Berry writes eloquently in several styles and methods. Among other literary forms, he is a poet of great clarity and sureness. His love of language and his care for its music are matched only by his fidelity to the subjects he has written of during his first twenty-five years of work: land and nature, the family and community, tradition as the groundwork for life and culture. His graceful elegies sit easily alongside lyrics of humor and biting satire. Husbandman and husband, philosopher and Mad Farmer, he writes of values that endure, of earthy truths and universal imagery. His vision is one of hope and memory, of determination and faithfulness. For this far-reaching yet portable volume, Berry has chosen nearly two hundred poems from his previous eight collections.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLovely, raspberry : poems / Aaron Belz.
Clever wordplay in the style of the brilliant Billy Collins. “In this masterfully offbeat second collection, Aaron Belz writes with a deadpan whimsy that fronts mischievously for keen cultural insights in poems like You Bore Me, Asking Al Gore About the Muse, and Thirty Illegal Moves in the Cloud-Shape Game.” “Reading Aaron Belz is like dreaming of a summer vacation and then taking it.” – John Ashbery” (courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverOld Possum’s book of practical cats / by T.S. Eliot ; drawings by Edward Gorey.
“An engaging collection of humorous poems. These verses, originally composed to amuse Eliot’s intimate friends, have proven irresistible to cat lovers, lovers of nonsense, and admirers of Eliot throughout the English-speaking world. “Enough ferocious fancy and parody to knock the spots off most cat books and most…verses” (Time). Drawings by Nicolas Bentley.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNox / Anne Carson.
Moving, multi-media concertina-style – unique! “Created after the death of her brother, Carson’s haunting and beautiful “Nox” is her first book of poetry in five years–a unique, illustrated, accordion-fold-out “book in a box.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013 / selected by Glyn Maxwell.
Nobel prize winner and playful heavyweight. “Across sixty-five years, Walcott has grappled with the themes that have defined his work as they have defined his life: the unsolvable riddle of identity; the painful legacy of colonialism on his native Caribbean island of St. Lucia; the mysteries of faith and love and the natural world; the Western canon, celebrated and problematic; the trauma of growing old, of losing friends, family, one’s own memory. This collection, selected by Walcott’s friend the English poet Glyn Maxwell, will prove as enduring as the questions, the passions, that have driven Walcott to write for more than half a century.” (adapted from Syndetics annotation)

Syndetics book coverPoems that make grown men cry : 100 men on the words that move them / edited by Anthony and Ben Holden.Diverse, personal collection of moving poems from famous actors, writers and pop culture figures. “A unique collection of poetry so powerful that 100 grown men–bestselling authors, poets laureate, and other eminent figures from the arts, sciences, and politics–have been moved to tears. Here they deliver touching and insightful personal introductions to a range of beloved poems. …Father-and-son team Anthony and Ben Holden, a British writer and movie producer respectively, have teamed up to compile a poetry anthology unlike any other.” (adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUltramarine / Raymond Carver.
“Mr. Carver is heir to that most appealing American poetic voice, the lyricism of Theodore Roethke and James Wright…. this book is a treasure, one to return to. No one’s brevity is as rich, as complete, as Raymond Carver’s.”–New York Times Book Review (Syndetics summary).
Also by the same poet: Where water comes together with other water : poems

Syndetics book coverAsk me : 100 essential poems / William Stafford ; edited by Kim Stafford.
Gentle spirit, Oregon poet and former Laureate. “In our time there has been no poet who revived human hearts and spirits more convincingly than William Stafford.” —Naomi Shihab Nye.

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life.
—from “Ask Me”
 “In celebration of the poet’s centennial, Ask Me collects one hundred of William Stafford’s essential poems. As a conscientious objector during World War II, while assigned to Civilian Public Service camps Stafford began his daily writing practice, a lifelong early-morning ritual of witness. His poetry reveals the consequences of violence, the daily necessity of moral decisions, and the bounty of art. Selected and with a note by Kim Stafford, Ask Me presents the best from a profound and original American voice.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCollected poems, 1947-1997 / Allen Ginsberg.Collected Poems, 1947-1997
“Here, for the first time, is a volume that gathers the published verse of Allen Ginsberg in its entirety, a half century of brilliant work from one of America’s great poets. As the chief figure among the Beats, Ginsberg changed the course of American poetry, liberating it from closed academic forms with the creation of open, vocal, spontaneous, and energetic postmodern verse. Ginsberg’s raw tones and attitudes of spiritual liberation also helped catalyze a psychological revolution that has become a permanent part of our cultural heritage, profoundly influencing not only poetry, popular song, and speech but also our view of the world.” (Syndetics summary)

PoetryCovers
Elemental : Central Otago poems by Brian Turner ; photographs by Gilbert Van Reenen.
Other animals by Therese Lloyd.
Kōiwi, kōiwi = Bone, bone by Hinemoana Baker.
First World War poems edited by Andrew Motion.

Entertaining, unpredictable alt-lit from Steve Roggenbuck:
If u dont love the moon your an ass hole : poems and selfies
Crunk juice

Also:
A lasting joy; an anthology chosen and introduced by C. Day Lewis.
Collected Poems by G. K. Chesterton
Come Rain Hail by Hone Tuwhare

And poets:

Lauris Edmond
Charles Brasch
Harry Ricketts
Gerard Manley Hopkins
John Betjeman