Champions of the Word

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Tomorrow (Friday 26 August) is Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day – their annual nationwide celebration of poetry and poets.

“This is the second year running we’ve sponsored New Zealand’s festival of the word,” says Phantom GM Jamey Holloway.

The day will be marked by 100 events, including workshops and competitions featuring famous names, up-and-coming voices and poetry enthusiasts of all ages. “Poetry will be created, celebrated and performed at cafés, bars, schools, community centres and university campuses around the country. Find out what’s happening in your neighbourhood.

So why does Phantom champion poetry? Surely advertising and promotion is what posters are for.

“Kieran Read plus the written word. Why not?”

“Not quite,” says Holloway. “We’ve always believed street posters have a special role to play in fostering culture. Phantom’s poems on posters have been part of the urban landscape since 2005. Our sponsorship of National Poetry Day continues this tradition, and extends it with financial support of a range of poetry events.

“Poems and artworks on posters are also a great way of giving something back to the audience. It’s nice to reward them for paying attention, and a poem can provide something utterly unique that stays with the reader all day.”

What’s the next step? Holloway says he’d love to see the All Blacks take a poet on tour. In a recent Herald interview alongside writer Paula Morris, he said a national poet could promote another side of our culture, home and away.

“Kieran Read plus the written word. Why not?”

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