Arts Festival puts poetry in motion

Science communicator and microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles. Photo: Photographers Inc

Tauranga Arts Festival has added ‘Home-made Poetry’ to its web-based ‘arts at home’ line-up with locals or past guests of the festival being filmed reading work by New Zealand poets.

Former Poet Laureates Brian Turner and Elizabeth Smither have poems featuring with Brian saying from his home in Central Otago, “you deserve a round of applause for doing this”. Other Kiwi poets include Glenn Colquhoun, Alison Wong (based in Australia), Tauranga-raised Leonard Lambert and Bob Orr. Glenn and Elizabeth have both been festival guests, in 2018 and 2011 respectively.

“With the Escape! festival being cancelled this year and the country facing tough times we wanted to add some enjoyment to these days of solitude and uncertainty,” festival director Ria Hall says.

“We hope people will enjoy the poems and performances for what they are.”

Two Home-made Poetry videos will be posted every Monday at midday during the lockdown period, with the first on April 13 being award-winning scientist Dr Siouxsie Wiles (an Escape! festival speaker in 2016) and Mt Maunganui chess player Bob Smith, while April 20 will see videos by Tauranga garage owner Sandra Phillips and Waikato University chaplain Andrew McKean.

The poems have been chosen and matched with readers by festival literary programmer Sandra Simpson.

All lockdown rules have been observed while making the recordings – some have been DIY, while others have been filmed by people isolating in the same bubble and all have been made on the reader’s property.

Poet and GP Glenn Colquhoun. Photo: Brydie Photography

Two other locals have chosen to share poetry via written posts and April 13 saw a piece by Tauranga poet Harold Jones about one of his favourite pieces – ‘The Shield of Achilles’ from Homer’s ‘Iliad’. Next Monday (April 20) Tauranga photographer Kim Westerskov revisits some of his Antarctica experiences in response to a passage from the Bill Manhire poem ‘Hoosh’.

To see Home-made Poetry go to https://www.taurangafestival.co.nz/. Links are also available on the festival’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Audio recordings from the Escape! 2018 speaker sessions are being posted on Wednesdays and Fridays.

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