Old poetry friends will be reunited and performing their works once again in Rotorua.

As part of this week's Poetry Bomb, an event called Kiwi Poets will be held at McLeods Booksellers tomorrow from 4pm to 5.30pm.

It will feature poets Ian Rockel, Bob Orr and Brian Potiki.

The line up harkens to 1981 where they performed together as Rotorua residents.


Ian Rockel, who turns 80 next year, will be remembered by an older generation for his time as director of the Rotorua Museum and Art Gallery.

Late last year, his book What Know You Stars?: 50 poems for fifty years was launched in Devonport where he lives now.

Ian says it feels great to be having a second book launch in Rotorua because it is one of the places he feels attached to.

He says most of the poems he will be reading are from his book, but he will read at least three which will be in his second collection.

"I will see a lot of faces I know. I will see two poets I know very well, and will be enjoying listening to their poetry and sharing the atmosphere with them.

"When I was a little boy I wanted to be a composer, but I never learnt any music, and poetry is often very musical and I tend write lyrical poetry."

Bob Orr. Photo/Supplied
Bob Orr. Photo/Supplied

Bob Orr was last year's Waikato University writer-in-residence.

He will read new poems written on his manual typewriter in the university's English Department during that residency.


The first of his seven collections was published in 1971 and he was the winner of 2016's biennial Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for his contribution to poetry.

In 1981, working at the Rotorua Museum, Brian Potiki organised a series of Friday night poetry readings which he called 'Kiwi Poets'.

Tomorrow's event makes an historic link to that time.

Brian, like Ian and Bob, has had his poems published by Steele/Roberts publishers in Wellington.

Brian Potiki performs his poetry among the crowd. Photo/File
Brian Potiki performs his poetry among the crowd. Photo/File

Poetry Bomb is held as a way to celebrate National Poetry Day, which is today.

This evening, there is also the Mad Poets Rhythm and Rhyme at the Pig 'n' Whistle upstairs, with doors opening at 6.30pm and the event starting at 7pm. It is a gold coin entry.


Rotorua Mad Poet Society secretary Jackie Evans says the event involves a combination of poetry and music.

About 10 poets will perform and in between there will be vocal and instrumental performances. There will also be a supper.

She says it would be lovely if people came along, and that the winners for a humorous poetry competition, which the Society had organised, will be announced.