The word on the street

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Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day gets underway in just two weeks – on Friday 24 August in cities and towns across New Zealand.

Held annually on the fourth Friday in August, National Poetry Day sees award-winning poets join poetry enthusiasts from all over the country in a marathon programme of poetry readings, performances, workshops and competitions. 

Expect to encounter poetry in expected and unusual places – on public transport, street posters and footpaths; in cafés, bars, bookshops, and libraries; and at schools, university campuses, retirement villages, marae, theatres and community centres.

To spread the word, Phantom Billstickers is giving pride of place to poems in some of our most prominent sites. Look out for posters featuring the words of this year’s selected poets – Ria Masae, Sue Wootton, Elizabeth Smither, Briar Wood, Tony Beyer, Jay Clarkson, Hinemoa Baker, Janet Frame, Sam Hunt and Tusiata Avia.

And that’s just to kick things off. Phantom will be printing and pasting up more stunning poems by famous and emerging poets over the next few weeks.


“Look out for posters featuring Ria Masae, Sue Wootton, Elizabeth Smither, Briar Wood, Tony Beyer, Jay Clarkson, Hinemoa Baker, Janet Frame, Sam Hunt, Tusiata Avia.”

Why poems?
“We’ve always backed Kiwi creativity, from our earliest days sticking up posters for bands,” says Phantom Billstickers founder Jim Wilson. “We see poems the same way – as art that can change the world. If there’s one thing a good poem does, it’s to jolt you into a new frame of thinking.

Sue Wootton said: “A good poem is life compressed. Once it gets inside you, it unfolds and unfolds, and you are reinvigorated. Poetry quickens the desire to live a truer life – once you start reading poetry you’ll never be the same again. Poets are disliked by totalitarian regimes precisely because poetry is so potent.”

Jim Wilson: “That’s why we’re using our nationwide network to showcase the brilliant words of New Zealand’s poets, and why we’re partnering with the NZ Book Awards Trust to sponsor Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day for the third year running.


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