A tough life needs a tough language – and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers – a language powerful enough to say how it is.

So says Jeanette Winterson in her wonderful memoir Why be happy when you could be normal? Friday 27 July is your day to celebrate the toughest language – National Poetry Day.

Booksellers New Zealand suggests you put a poem in your pocket so you can share it with friends, family and workmates as the chance arises. They have four poems you can choose from.

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On National Poetry Day I will salute Phantom Billstickers who have been beautifying (and toughening) Christchurch with their Phantom Poetry.

Here’s some New Zealand poets as seen in Digital New Zealand.

And heck I love Hera Lindsay Bird’s The most beautiful love poem of all time.

Events in Christchurch

Poetica Friday 27 July, 9am to 10am at 614  Colombo Street, Christchurch. Poetica (supported by Gap Filler) presents an outdoor interactive poetry installation.  Come to the site for breakfast where poetry will be “toasted” with fresh warm toast served with poetry readings and the opportunity to display your poetry on an outdoor poetry board.

CHCH Poets respond to the quake Friday 27 July, 12:30 – 1:30pm Canterbury University Bookshop, University Drive, Ilam, Christchurch. Participants are invited to submit a poem of between 10 and 20 lines on the theme My Quake Nightmare. Entries dropped off in person or posted into UBS Canterbury by 20th July. All entries will be judged by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, author of Shake Down 6.3. The winners of the poetry competition will be invited to read their poems at a Poets Respond Poetry Reading event, 12.30 – 1.30 pm at UBS Canterbury, joining Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Ursula Bethell University of Canterbury Writer in Residence, Helen Lowe and local author, Ben Brown. Further information from phone 03 364-2043.

Poetry at Christchurch City Libraries

We love poetry all year round: