Celebration takes poetry to the streets

By Amy Shanks

Locals are being encouraged to embrace the poetic side of life during a day of celebration later this month.

National Poetry Day sees poets, both fledgling and award-winning, take to streets, cafes, auditoriums and classrooms all over the country to read, rap, dance and sing on July 27.

Now in it's 15th year, the event has grown to include a diverse range of performances all over the country.

"More than ever before the shows are interactive and visual, and there are some truly creative events using multi-media," event organiser and published poet, Siobhan Harvey said.

"There's something for everyone. National Poetry Day isn't just for established poets; it's also for people who simply want to give poetry a go. So if you harbour a desire to perform a piece of your own, this is the day to throw caution to the wind."

Hawke's Bay Live Poets Society treasurer Bill Sutton said poetry had a steady audience in Hawke's Bay.

"I suppose it's one of the ways in which human beings express themselves and the way they feel about the world, it's also one of the oldest forms of expression known to man.

"Our current mailing list has 100 people, roughly half from Napier and half from Hastings and Havelock North. We also have some stretching from Central Hawke's Bay to Wairoa. The interest is widely spread."

Meetings often attracted bigger groups when a guest poet was speaking, with a recent gathering drawing 80 people.

Local poetry heroes Dorothy Wharehoka, Ian McQuillan, Laura Morris and Fraser Duncan will hold live readings at Beattie & Forbes Bookshop in Napier from 10am to 10.45am and at the Taradale Senior Citizens Lounge from 11.15am to 12pm on July 27, on National Poetry Day.

They have also been asked to put on a Friday Lunch Box performance at EIT's School of Arts and Design, from 12.15 to 1.00pm on Friday November 2.

"Having the chance to perform poetry gives me a great deal of pleasure," Mr McQuillan said.

For him a love of prose began at high school where he was encouraged by an inspirational English teacher, the late Peter Smart.

However, he admits, "I did not write regularly until joining the Hawke's Bay Live Poets Society. Since then the encouragement to produce something for our monthly meetings has kept me stimulated and interested."

Inspiration comes from everyday life and encompasses many subjects.

"At times it is reflective and at others, humorous," he said.

Anyone who would like to be part of the Hawke's Bay Live Poets Society can email Bill Sutton at suttb@xtra.co.nz

- Hawkes Bay Today

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