Poets will be well-versed for spe­cial day

Auckland City Harbour News - - News -

“ 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.

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