Republic of poets launched

Last updated 14:47 11/06/2014

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Christchurch poets Ben Brown, Andy Coyle, and Doc Drumheller will raise the flag of a new republic with poems and songs when they launch a combined collection of poetry and other writings in Golden Bay and Nelson this month.

The three poets are part of the crew that performs regularly at the legendary Catalyst Open Mic, and Catalyst Road Shows.

The Republic of Oma Rapeti Press publishes Catalyst literary arts journal, founded by Drumheller in 2003.

The press will publish the new anthology from the three poets as part of their new Republic venture. The on-going project will produce a high quality literary anthology of three New Zealand poets each year. Republic of Poets Volume 1: Pioneers, is funded by Christchurch City Creative Communities.

"The project is inspired by the Penguin Poets series of the past,"explains Drumheller.

"The launch in Golden Bay and Nelson of this initial collection will be the Republic's first venture and will be complete with a flag, constitution, and national anthem. You won't want to miss it. We have a continuing interest in experimental and non-traditional forms of poetry and writing often neglected in literary journals."

"As such, you will find song lyrics, script/screenplay excerpts, spoken word, rap and performance texts, visual poetry, graffiti, artwork and design included in the pages of Catalyst and in our live performances," adds Drumheller.

Each poet brings to the performance their own particular take on the literary world.

Their skill and enthusiasm for their writing and poetry craft has earned them status as pioneers in the field of performance poetry in Christchurch, while also establishing them on a national and international level.

Ben Brown (Ngati Paoa, Ngati Mahuta) is a writer, poet and performer, living in Lyttleton. He has published numerous children's books, short stories for children and adults, poetry and non-fiction, and is an occasional contributor to Mana Magazine. He has won many awards including best picture book with the artist/illustrator Helen Taylor in the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

In 2011 he was the Maori Writer in Residence at the Michael King Writer's Centre. He was also writer in residence at Hagley College in Christchurch in 2009 as well as touring and performing at many festivals.

Andy Coyle, a performance poet, represented Christchurch in the NZ Poetry Slam finals in 2011. He is a regular contributor to the Catalyst Open Mic Night, The Catalyst Literary Journal, and the Catalyst Road Show. Career highlights include a ten date tour of New Zealand in 2010; writing and performing an epic poem set in Christchurch accompanied by a 7 piece progressive jazz/rock ensemble for the Dunedin Fringe and the Wellington Jazz Festival as well as many other festivals. Doc Drumheller came from Charleston, South Carolina before settling in Oxford, Canterbury, where he edits and publishes Catalyst and teaches creative writing at the School for Young Writers. He has worked in award winning groups for theatre and music and published ten collections of poetry. In 2007 he participated in the 12th Havana International Poetry Festival, as well as many other international festivals. In 2011 he travelled to India where his book In Transit, 100 haiku in 11 languages, was published. In 2013 he performed in Sofia, Bulgaria with the Bulgarian rock band, La Text, launching a feature of Bulgarian poets in Catalyst Volume 10 and Contemporary New Zealand Poets published in Sofia's Literary Newspaper.

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The Republic of Poets, Ben Brown, Andy Coyle, Doc Drumheller, The Mussel Inn, Golden Bay, Sunday June 15, 7pm, The Free House, Nelson, Monday June 16, 7pm, $5 at the door

- The Nelson Mail

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