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Phantom National Poetry Day Calls On Team Of Five Million To Take Celebration Online

Undeterred by the continuing restrictions caused by the Delta outbreak, the organisers and sponsors of Phantom National Poetry Day are encouraging poetry lovers across the motu to join them in a virtual celebration as scheduled, on Friday 27 August.

The more than 120 public events planned nationwide will not be able to proceed in person this week, so organisers are shifting the poetry party online.

To help put the fizz back into the celebration, a virtual open mic will be hosted by Phantom National Poetry Day on Facebook and Instagram. Poets and poetry lovers are invited to submit written poetry and share videos of their own poetry performance. New Zealanders can find out how to do this in the Phantom National Poetry Day Calendar of Events. And everyone is encouraged to share their love of poetry by using the hashtag #NZPoetryDay on August 27.

A number of online events were already planned and more have quickly converted to the virtual space. Among the highlights are:

  • Aus x NZ Poetry Showcase – Featuring lively virtual readings from Tusiata Avia, winner of the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry at the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards; shortlisted poets Hinemoana Baker, Mohamed Hassan and Nina Mingya Powles; MitoQ Best First Book Award (Poetry) winner Jackson Nieuwland; and Aotearoa Poet Laureate David Eggleton.
  • Little Wild Words and Music for Fairies, Pirates & Mermaids – Award winning songwriter for kids Claudia Robin Gunn shares a mini song cycle of vintage poetry about fairies and pirates.
  • Poetry on Air – A medley of poetry in several languages, brought to you by Wairarapa Word, and recorded LIVE at Arrow FM, Wairarapa’s only community access radio station.
  • Nelson Poetry Map – Contribute poems to an open-access map, tagged to the locations you associate with those poems. Visit the locations and read the poems on your mobile device or take a virtual tour from the comfort of your home.

Other organisers have elected to postpone their events so that they can celebrate in person in the coming weeks or months, meaning the poetry celebration will be extended, so keep a watch on the Calendar of Events for updates and details.

“We’re massively disappointed that so many of the innovative in-person events planned for Phantom National Poetry Day will have to be cancelled or postponed,” says Phantom Billstickers CEO Robin McDonnell. “But Aotearoa showed last year that poetry finds a way to sprout whatever the circumstances. So, look out for it online, on street billboards during your local walks, and emanating from locked-down households on the day. And join in the fun!”

Phantom National Poetry Day also embraces a range of poetry competitions, including RNZ Afternoons National Poetry Day Competition and E Tū Whānau Spoken Word Competition. The latter is hosted by acclaimed poet Te Kahu Rolleston, who will announce the winners on social media on Friday 27 August. To find out more about this and other competitions check out the Competition Calendar.

Teachers or parents looking for a poetry activity to do virtually with students or children on Phantom National Poetry Day can take inspiration from a resource developed by poet and blogger Paula Green. Find out more here: Phantom National Poetry Day Schools Guide.

Held annually on the fourth Friday in August, Phantom National Poetry Day brings together poetry royalty and fans from all over Aotearoa. For the past six years, Phantom Billstickers has supported National Poetry Day through its naming rights sponsorship. For full details about online happenings and other celebrations, go to: Phantom National Poetry Day Calendar of Events.

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