24 Aug 2018

National Poetry Day - Selina Tusitala Marsh, Erik Kennedy

From Morning Report, 7:53 am on 24 August 2018

Today is National Poetry Day, and in celebration Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh and new-published Christchurch poet Erik Kennedy read poetry on Morning Report.

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Photo: 123RF

Selina says she "absolutely" thinks poetry is still relevant.

"Wherever I go people want more connection with language, and particularly embodied language and that's what poetry offers.

"It's telling tales, and telling them well and in accessible ways so that you bring people along with you rather than leaving them peering into the window trying to figure out what you're saying.

"I see people moved emotionally and wanting to write their own more and more."

Selina Tusitala Marsh reading one of her poems in the RNZ Auckland studio.

Selina Tusitala Marsh in the Auckland studio for a previous reading.  Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Erik's first book of poetry There's No Place Like the Internet in Springtime, will be published next Wednesday.

He says he would try to avoid calling himself a poet when he's first meeting someone.

"It's the sort of thing … sometimes you do want to say it because people are actually fascinated when they hear, but it's not what you're really expected to say to people.

"I just say what my day job is, but I'm happy to talk about being a poet as well."

He says sales of poetry are increasing in Britain and the US.

"Stage-based poets who've taken their work to the page, and there's this real crossover happening when people are actually buying poetry and genuinely reading it, not just academic poets but poets that people really like."

Listen as Erik reads There's No Place Like the Internet in Springtime, and Selina reads Jacinda and Clarke and the Baby and Us: