It’s that time again – Spring, the season of rain, daffodils, blackbirds fighting, lambs gambolling, bud burst, and weekly evictions of starlings from my roof space. And most of all, time for the annual Canterbury Poets’ Collective Poetry in Performance readings. Hooray!
For anyone who hasn’t been before, it’s the longest-running poetry readings series in New Zealand. Each session begins with an Open Mike, where anyone who fancies it can put their name down and read a poem. Could be a poem of your own, or a piece by someone else you really like – whatever you fancy. The range of subjects and levels is positively mind-bending, and it’s a really great, supportive atmosphere. With an extra bit of incentive: we all get to vote fo our favourite of the Open Mike readers, and the winners from each night get to come back and be guest readers for the final evening!
That takes care of the first half of the session. After a short break, it’s the turn of the guest readers. There’s almost always 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 mike. (It happened to me!) The whole thing usually wraps up around 8.30, but there’s generally a bit of meeting-and-mingling afterwards. All for a measley $6 a session. Bargain!
And who might the guests be for this year?
27th September: David Eggleton, John Newton, Ray Shipley
4th October: Riemke Ensing, Frankie McMillan, Ben Brown
11th October: Airini Beautrais, Andrew Paul Wood, Claire Thompson
18th October: Chris Tse, Teoti Jardine, Nod Ghosh
25th October: CK Stead, Rodney Foster, Diana Deans
1st November: Lynley Edmeades, Christina Stachurski, Victoria Broome
8th November: Ingrid Horrocks, Phoebe Wright, poets from the Hagley Writers’ Institute
15th November: Michelle Leggott, and the best of the Open Mike poets.
It once again 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 briefly along the right corridor, and it’s the first door. Look, here’s a map:
If you’d like a copy of the poster for yourself, clicking on this link should take you to a downloadable pdf version. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to do some reading practice.