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An exhibition celebrating New Zealand poetry

30 May 2005

Main Trunk Lines - an exhibition celebrating New Zealand poetry 22 July to 30 October 2005 at the National Library Gallery

A major exhibition of New Zealand poetry from the past 150 years opens at the National Library Gallery on 22 July.

Drawing extensively on the book and manuscript collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Main Trunk Lines: New Zealand poetry samples some of the country's best-known poems alongside the more peripheral, experimental and surprising

Exhibits range from Eileen Duggan's teapot to a cartoon about James K Baxter by Chris Knox. Also included are book-designs, voice recordings, Anna Livesey's series of commissioned poems on a set of beer coasters, and two poems written by James K Baxter on the wallpaper of Michael Illingworth's house.

>From the widely accepted to the radical - Thomas Bracken's 'God Defend New Zealand' to Cilla McQueen's 'Dogwobble' - Main Trunk Lines offers visitors a bearing on the broad imaginative map of New Zealand poetry.

Collaborations between visual artists and poets have long been a feature of New Zealand cultural life. Photographs by Alan Knowles, Robert Cross and others will provide a composite group-portrait of the poets behind the lines. Works by Waiheke-based Denis O'Connor incorporate poems by Allen Curnow, Janet Frame and others. Further artists in the exhibition include Ralph Hotere, Colin McCahon, John Reynolds, Saskia Leek, John Pule, Fiona Pardington, Virginia King, John Baxter, Toss Woollaston and Michael Illingworth. The short poem-films of Richard von Sturmer are also included.

The 'main trunk lines' in the title are the lines of poetry that run through the books and art works in the exhibition - the lines that have shaped and influenced the imaginative life of New Zealand. Featuring the most significant poems and publications of the past 150 years, the exhibition looks at poetry today, how it got here and where it's going in the future.

A well-stocked reading room will be a feature of the exhibition, allowing visitors to sit back and savour a huge range of current poetry titles. A diverse programme of related events will also be offered during the course of the exhibition.

Main Trunk Lines is curated by Jenny Bornholdt (current Te Mata Estate Poet Laureate) and Gregory O'Brien.

ENDS

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