Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Kiwi Poets In New York

Nau mai, haere mai, ka nui nui te mihi ki a koutou katoa, nga hoa aroha o Aotearoa me nga tuhinga whiti o reira.

Translation from Maori: A warm welcome to all poetry lovers and friends of New Zealand.

For two years Jim Wilson travelled to cities and towns throughout the USA and put poem posters by Kiwi poets on poles, walls and in cafes and stores.

Then a dedicated group of volunteers also put these poem posters up in cities around the world from London, Glasgow, Paris and Vienna through to Sydney, Australia.

Back home in New Zealand, Wilson’s company Phantom Billstickers Ltd has put up thousands of Kiwi poems on walls and poster bollards from Invercargill to Whangarei.

Now eight of New Zealand’s finest poets bring their voices, hearts, and words to a live performance poetry event in New York City.

The Phantom Billstickers Poems on Posters initiative has attracted much interest and attention from radio stations, newspaper columns, and blogs, but more importantly (much more importantly) the poems themselves have been read on the streets. The poems on posters capture the interest of the passer-by and this is what makes all the difference.

Who are the Band of Bards from Aotearoa New Zealand?

These leading performers on the Aotearoa New Zealand spoken word scene are hand-picked rugged individualists, energetic imagineers, who will bring you poetry in motion from far-flung degrees of latitude, with a Kiwi-consciousness-raising cabaret, by turns eclectic, electric, comic, melancholic, idiosyncratic and euphoric. Spiraling out of the South Pacific to stand and deliver stories and lyrics about oceanic love, environmental vigilance, and the dramatic dilemmas of identity, this flying circus of Kiwiana activists, Pasifika scene-painters, fretboard-fingering songsters, acrobatic word-jugglers and megaphone motormouths promises to carry you across the date-line and re-orientate your inner global positioning satellite, all in the course of just one colorful evening.

The Poets From New Zealand to Perform in New York on February 28, 2012 are:

Jeffrey Paparoa Holman / David Eggleton / Hinemoana Baker / Sandra Bell
Jay Clarkson / Pamela Gordon (reading Janet Frame) / Otis Mace / Tusiata Avia

Many other Kiwi poets have lent their voice to this project since its inception in 2009. Several prominent American poets have also participated.

Two American Poets Making a Special Guest Appearance at this Event are:

Gerald Stern (National Book Award winner)
Jeffrey McCaleb (The Bard of Cookeville, Tennessee).

Printing poems on posters is largely about hope. This world is sometimes hard and is often a painful and ugly place. The goal of the Poems on Posters Project is to give poets a hearing and bring a softer voice into the streets. This is what has been missing: the heart and voice of the poet which is something that everyone can understand. Poem posters are “Flora for the Concrete Jungle” and they are uplifting.

Jim Wilson founded Phantom Billstickers, New Zealand's premier poster and street-media company in 1982, to give musicians, the arts, and creative people in New Zealand a voice, and to use posters on walls to put “Bums on Seats”. Now his aim is to use posters to share the heart of the Kiwi poet with people outside of New Zealand. Simple.

On Jim’s mission to spread the word, he spent two years traveling across the United States putting up poem posters in the streets. Many large cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, New Orleans, Seattle, Memphis and San Francisco got a “good pasting” but venues off the beaten track were not immune. Jim also traveled the back alleys off of Highway 61, braved the mid-summer heat in the rural south (Tennessee and Mississippi are particularly close to his heart), and chipped ice off of some telephone poles and notice boards in Central Vermont and Northern New Hampshire to put up poem posters.

Poets from New Zealand and the United States who have had their work featured on poem posters as a part of this project include: Aroha Harris, Becky Woodall, Ben Brown, Bernadette Hall, Bill Direen, Bill Manhire, Brett Lupton, Brian Turner, Campbell McKay, Chris Price, Chris Knox, David Eggleton, Dylan Kemp, Elizabeth Smither, Frankie McMillan, Gary Langford, Gary McCormick, Geoff Cochrane, Gerald Stern, Hilaire Campbell, Hinemoana Baker, Hone Tuwhare, Jackie Steincamp, James K Baxter, James Milne (aka Lawrence Arabia), Janet Frame, Jay Clarkson, Jeffery McCaleb, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Jody Lloyd, Joe Treceno, Jordan Luck, Josie McQuail, Keri Hulme, Laurence Arabia, Marcie Sims, Marty Smith, Michael White, Michele Leggott, Nicholas Thomas, Otis Mace, Pablo Nova, Patrick Connors, Rhian Gallagher, Robert Creeley, Robert Pinsky, Roger Hickin, Sam Hunt, Sandra Bell, Selina Marsh, Serie Barford, Sonja Yelich, Stephen Oliver and Tusiata Avia

We hope that many more will be able to participate as the project continues.


You can read about the Phantom Billstickers Poems on Posters project as well as Jim Wilson’s articles on postering in cities across the USA at


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief

The Norwegian filmmaker had long been fascinated by art thieves who commit high-stakes crimes with a delicate touch when a chance Google search in 2015 uncovered a botched heist in Oslo. More>>

Howard Davis: Anna Coddington Beams

Anna Coddington's thin, wispy vocals fit her songs beautifully, providing a wonderful lilting quality that pervades her latest album, producing instant ear worms. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>

Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks in Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>

Howard Davis: Avantdale Bowling Club

Auckland rapper and MC Tom Scott brought his stunning jazz-infused Taite Music Prize-winning project Avantdale Bowling Club to the Opera House headlining Wellington's 2020 Jazz Festival. More>>

Howard Davis: Troy Kingi Rules The San Fran

The award-winning Northland musician performed songs from his new record The Ghost of Freddie Cesar, the fourth installment in his 10/10/10 series - ten albums in ten years in ten genres. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland