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Jazzing it up at Manukau libraries

Media Release
13 June 2002

Jazzing it up at Manukau libraries

Is rapping poetry? Jazz poet Lewis Scott will challenge students with that question when he performs at two branches of Manukau Libraries on Wednesday 19th June 2002.

Mr Scott will visit Tupu Dawson Road Youth Library first at 2.30pm to perform for Tangaroa College students. Up and coming student poets/rappers will be invited to join Mr Scott as he reads from both old and new titles.

“This is an opportunity for students to see how today’s popular rapping is closely linked with poetry – and ultimately, poetry is one channel that young people can use to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions,” says Rosetta Reti Simanu, Manager of the Tupu Dawson Road Youth Library. “Contemporary poets like Lewis Scott act as role models for aspiring young poets, especially when he writes about issues relevant to our young people.”

Lewis Scott was born in Cordele, Georgia (U.S.A) where, as a black American, he experienced segregation at first hand. He has lived in New Zealand on and off since 1976 and currently runs Kwanzaa The African Shop in Wellington. He has had a number of poetry and prose books published such as Nothing but a Man (1981), Songs for my Father (1983), Black Family Letters from Boston (1994), A Woman called Maasumaa (1995) and Earth Colours 1970-2000 (2000).

Mr Scott will be reading later that day at the launch of Real Fire: New Zealand Poetry of the 1960s and 1970s, at the Central Reference Library, Ronwood Ave at 6.30pm.

Real Fire: New Zealand Poetry of the 1960s and 1970s has been compiled by poet, novelist and editor Bernard Gadd and published by Square One Press. Other poets reading at the launch include Alistair Paterson, poet and editor of Poetry NZ and Dave Simmons, historian, editor and translator.

An open floor session for local poets will follow the launch.

“Poetry is alive and well in Manukau,” says Bruce Ringer, Team Leader Specialist Services at Manukau Libraries. “Last year’s ‘Live Poets Society’ evening attracted over 60 people, and we’re expecting a similar response to the launch of Real Fire. Local poets love the opportunity to read in front of an audience, and it’s a great starting point for young poets who may not have had that experience before.”

Otara Library also holds a monthly poetry session called ‘I Have a Voice’ – poetry readings with a distinct Pacific flavour. Local poets are invited to read their work every third Friday of the month. Next Poetry Night will be Friday 21st June from 5.30pm.

Contact Bruce Ringer on Ph: 262 5101 for more information on the launch of Real Fire: New Zealand Poetry of the 1960s and 1970s or Iva Matagi on Ph: 274 7936 for information on ‘I Have a Voice’. Contact Melissa Steiner on Ph: 274 2356 for information on Lewis Scott’s performance at Tupu – Dawson Road Youth Library.


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