Poets will be well-versed for special day
“ Poetry day is July 24th why not make it a special case? and send a friend a poem.” The rest of Janet Charman’s poem, titled Poetry Day is July 24th, encourages people to dig out forgotten verses or make some up for the occasion.
The Avondale poet knows the value of a good verse, having won the Montana Poetry Prize last year.
“It was the first time I’d been shortlisted and the first time I’d won. It was fabulous.”
On Friday she’ll be reading poetry as part of the Divine Muses Poetry Reading, along with Murray Edmond, Stephanie Johnson, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Iain Sharp, Kirsten Warner, Alexandra Fraser and Siobhan Harvey.
Ms Charman started writing poetry at university in newly formed creative writing groups.
“I was in the feminist wave and we wanted more text by women in our classes. We thought, why don’t we write some ourselves?”
It was the beginning of creative writing being part of university studies and the students produced their own writing and journals.
Ms Charman and several fellow writers went on to publish a book at a time when self-publishing was reasonably rare.
After that she was picked up by Women’s Press and later by the Auckland University Press, which has published her ever since.
“I’ve never really stuck with any one job but I’ve stuck with poetry.”
For the Divine Muses event, each poet has to read a poem by someone else and Ms Charman has chosen a piece called The Perils of Reading Fiction by Adrian Mitchell.
“It’s a nod to another genre from me,” she says.
She will also spend about 10 minutes reading pieces of her own work.
They will likely be poems from a new collection she is working on.
Ms Charman describes her style as open form rather than traditional stanzas and rhyming and all her work is concerned with gender politics in some capacity.
She is looking forward to reading with and listening to the other poets at Divine Muses and usually celebrates Poetry Day, if only by giving a poem to a friend.
Montana Poetry Day national co-ordinator Siobhan Harvey says the Divine Muses has been running for six years and is an increasingly popular event.
“It really astonished me how popular it has become. It’s a reflection of Montana Poetry Day which is growing in popularity every year.”
The event will be held on Friday at the Women’s Pioneer Hall, 2 Freyburg Place in the city from 7pm to 9.30pm.
Entry is free and food and drink will be provided.
Inspiration: Janet Charman will be reading verse in the Divine Muses Poetry Reading.