From left, Elizabeth Smither Michele Leggott (the current laureate), Jenny Bornholdt, Brian Turner and Bill Manhire with their exquisite tokotoko, or ceremonial sticks. The one belonging to the late Hone Tuwhare was also included on the night.
Up to 200 people watched the poets read at the National Library in Wellington on Monday night but I wasn't one of them. It was a cold, wet night and I was too tired to light the fire let alone drag myself the 30 mins back to town. I hope they'll get together again next year as Michele Leggott suggested and I'll go even if I have to crawl in the door.
This photograph makes me feel very proud of our country - to have five such poets (all so different) and to elevate them like this and recognise their brilliance is a wonderful thing. They look so ordinary and so kiwi, really: Liz, Michele, Jen, Brian and Bill. Who would think they'd write words that put together stop your breathing sometimes?
Meanwhile, any better suggestions on a title for this post? I am referring to a poem with five very different stanzas, of course. Not a well-known form, but could be interesting...
Terrific post on the event at the blog Opposable Thumb which refers to a 'palpitation of poets.'