Ah Spring. Season of late frosts, soggy lawns, and poetry. Specifically, the annual Canterbury Poets’ Collective Poetry in Performance readings!
Perfectly designed to slot in to your Wednesday evenings from September 26th to November 14th, it’s the longest-running poetry readings series in New Zealand, bringing together a mix of the established, the novice, and the completely unpredictable.
Each evening begins with an Open Microphone session, where anyone who fancies it can put their name down and read a poem. And we’ve become famous for the standard of our open mic readers – every year, visiting guest poets comment on how good it is. Every subject and every style of poetry you can imagine (and quite a few that defy belief, frequently in a good way). And there’s an extra reason to take the plunge – the audience gets to vote for their favourite open mic readers, and the winners from each night are the guest readers for the final evening.
After the interval there are three guest readers – usually one reader from out of town, and two local poets. Very often one of the locals will be an emerging poet, possibly someone who first showed up at the open mic. The whole thing usually wraps up around 8.30, but there’s generally a bit of meeting-and-mingling afterwards. All for $6 a session.
It takes place in the Imagetech Lecture Theatre at Ara (formerly Christchurch Polytechnic) on Madras Street. Super easy to find: go in through the main doors from the carpark, sashay five steps along the right corridor, and it’s the first door.
The readers for this year are:
26th September: Owen Marshall, Raina Kingsley, Jess Fiebig
3rd October: Tim Upperton, Tusiata Avia, Jeni Curtis
10th October: Kate Camp, Erik Kennedy, Merissa Foryani
17th October: Tony Beyer, Kerrin P. Sharpe, Marjory Woodfield
24th October: Vaughan Rapatahana, Danielle O’Halloran, Marisa Cappetta
31st October: Anna Jackson, John O’Brien, Chris Stewart
7th November: Sue Wootton, Andy Coyle, poets from the Hagley Writers’ Institute
14th November: Johanna Emeney, and the best of the Open Mic poets.
If you’d like a copy of the very sexy poster for yourself, clicking on this link should take you to a downloadable pdf version.
Time to get in some reading practice!