Online poetry collection reflects ethnic diversity of New Zealand

Online poetry collection 20/20 features North Shore poet Johanna Emeney who was chosen by poet laureate C.K. Stead.
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Online poetry collection 20/20 features North Shore poet Johanna Emeney who was chosen by poet laureate C.K. Stead.

An online collection of poetry is being released by a literary group to coincide with the 20th National Poetry Day on August 25.

For the collection, entitled 20/20, the New Zealand Book Awards Trust invited 20 acclaimed poets to select a poem they felt particularly spoke to New Zealanders.

In addition, each of these poets was then asked to select an emerging poet or writer who they considered to be essential reading - hence the 20/20 title.

A poster suggests support for diverse voices in this year's National Poetry Day.
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A poster suggests support for diverse voices in this year's National Poetry Day.

Trust member Paula Morris said she was excited to see the ethnic and geographic diversity in the poems chosen.

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"This list speaks to a 'new' New Zealand literature, and reflects how much our culture is changing and growing," Morris said.

North Shore's Johanna Emeney was chosen by poet laureate C.K. Stead.

Spokesperson Paula Morris said the collection represents the diversity of voices in New Zealand.
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Spokesperson Paula Morris said the collection represents the diversity of voices in New Zealand.

Emeney said the fact the poet laureate chose her work, feels like Shirley Temple being asked to dance by Fred Astaire.

"It's pretty special," she said.

Both poets will be meeting at another Poetry Day event hosted by Depot Artspace on Auckland's North SHore.

20 Poets in Devonport brings together 20 poets from past and present and will also include Michele Leggott, Te Awhina Arahunga, Paula Morris and Ian Rockell. 

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Stead will be reading A Birthday, a poem he wrote for The Royal New Zealand Navy's 75th anniversary - his first commission as laureate.

Ironically, the reading of this poem will coincide with his last day as laureate - August 25. 

National Poetry Day has been held on the last Friday of August each year since it started in 1997.

20 Poets in Devonport, August 25, from 5.30pm at Depot Artspace, 28 Clarence St, Devonport.

Download the 20/20 poetry collection for free at nzbookawards.nz.

The New Zealand Book Awards Trust was established as a charitable trust in 2014 to govern and manage the country's two major literary awards and National Poetry Day, and to ensure their longevity and credibility.

Phantom Billstickers, a Kiwi street poster company, has sponsored Poetry Day for the past two years.

 - Stuff

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