National Poetry has once again, come and gone. Leaving us, once again, yearning for the same poetry fix we were granted on that special day.
We had the pleasure of working with Seraph Press this year to form our band of merry poets – we wanted to give Seraph Press poets a chance to read, as well as the array of poets floating around the VUW campus. Thus we set up, with help from the fabulous Helen Rickerby, Vic Books Presents Seraph Press Poets & Friends – and so the ampersand came to be our motif.
On the morning of the event, poetry zines sat patiently on the chairs of the audience, and the poets clustered at the back, sipping the last of their coffees before it was time to start.
The day was a flurry of activity, and not just because of Victoria University open day, which brought hoards of children and parents onto campus. But because the poets and the audience had their days ahead lined with poetry events, for people to attend or read at. Our event, in many ways, was a warm up for the day. We eat poetry for breakfast – it’s a side to our coffees.
We had so many wonderful poets share their gorgeous words with us. We even had several languages feature, with live translations, adding another dimension to the already powerful poetry. The poets were Anne Kennedy, Paula Green, Helen Lehndorf, Anahera Gildea (with a special appearance from Francesca Benocci), Johanna Aitchison,Vana Manasiadis, Marco Sonzogni, Therese LLoyd, and Liang Yujing.
Each poet seemed to flow into the next, and seemed delighted by the day. Johanna Aitchison started the event, and noted how excited she was to be reading at an event where there was more audience than there were poets.We laughed, but it was a good reminder that poetry day is, sadly, just one day a year. A reminder that the very notion of people enjoying a poetry reading need not be a thing of obscurity. As seems to happen every year, people decreed that poetry should be celebrated beyond just one day. But at least we have today.
The audience was attentive, despite the rather raucous open day that carried on in the hub opposite our bookshop, and the noises of the cafe that tried to intercept the line breaks.
Thanks to all who came, all who read, and even those who peered around the corner at strangeness of a crowd listening to poetry. Thanks to Helen for helping us to put on such wonderful event. And thanks to Phantom Billstickers for sponsoring the event, and taking Poetry to the posters.
By Jayne Mulligan
& & & A Few Photos of the Day & & &
Helen Rickerby of Seraph Press
Anahera Gildea & Francesca Benocci
Helen Rickerby and Marion Castree wishing everyone a Happy Poetry Day