Happy National Poetry Day! I have done something (read poems, handed out poems, chalked poems on the street, pot-luck poetry lunches, megaphone poetry on Cuba Street etc etc…) every year since Poetry Day began in the 1990s. Of course, every day is poetry day when you are a poet, but it’s lovely to have a day dedicated to celebrating poetry.
This year, the Palmerston North City Library invited Leonel Alvarado and I to work together on ‘installing’ six of our poems (three each) somewhere around the library. Inside or outside – it was up to us.
I had a wonderful time walking around the library with Leonel, looking for potential interesting sites.
The installation was ‘launched’ at a gathering last night, where I read with Leonel and Glenn Colquhoun. (Glenn was there to unveil an artwork he had donated to the library.) Unfortunately I only have photographs of one of the poems, because it was the only one installed when I was in the library during the day yesterday, and last night I forgot to take my camera. But below is my piece ‘Poem Without the L Word’ going up a staircase, so you begin reading at the bottom. (You can read the whole poem here.)
Leonel is originally from Honduras but now lives here in Palmerston North. He recently came second in a very prestigious Latin American poetry prize, the Casa De La Americas Prize. (Read more about it here.) I love to hear Leonel read with his thick Latin American accent, and sometimes he reads in Spanish, too. If you’d like to hear his voice, he was recently on ‘Playing Favourites’ with Kim Hill. (You can hear it here.)
Anyway, here is one of the installed poems….it was tricky to photograph, but hopefully you get something of an idea…I’ll get some photographs of the other poems soon.