To celebrate the 20th anniversary of New Zealand’s National Poetry Day, Unity Books welcomed local Wellington poets to read their pieces from new poetry anthology Manifesto Aotearoa: 101 Political Poems ($35, edited by Philip Temple & Emma Neale, published by Otago University Press) as well as some choice cuts from their own collections.
Mary McCallum began the event, reading on behalf of Mary Creswell who was unfortunately unable to attend. She read ‘Countdown‘ from Manifesto Aotearoa to the poetically hungry lunchtime crowd before going on to share a selection of poems from Creswell’s latest collection ‘Field Notes’. Keith Westwater followed with his piece from the anthology, raising smiles with the satire of ‘The Head of Department’s Prayer on a Change of Government‘. He also read his poem ‘The Stations of the Bucket Man‘, concerning Wellington street personality Robert Jones. After Keith, Liang Yujing spoke about Internet censorship in China, the subject of his Manifesto poem ‘The Greater Wall‘, and also discussed his work in translating other Chinese poets (reading his translation of ‘Jog‘ by Shen Haobo which is featured in Landfall #233) . Next, Anahera Gildea shared some new poems (including the wonderfully titled ‘When the Missionaries Cut the Penises Off Statues‘) closing with a stirring rendition of her anthology contribution ‘Speaking Rights‘. Closing out the event Nick Ascroft read ‘Procyclical‘ from Manifesto, claiming that the Wachowski’s made the same argument but better in their film Jupiter Ascending. He then read ‘Bearded Blog‘ from his latest collection ‘Back With the Human Condition‘ before finishing with a selection of new work.
Manifesto Aoteaora: 101 Political Poems ($35, edited by Philip Temple & Emma Neale, published by Otago University Press) is available to buy from Unity Books in-store and online.