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The 20/20 Collection

To mark the 20th anniversary of Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day, we asked 20 acclaimed Kiwi poets to choose one of their own poems – a work that spoke to New Zealand now. They were also asked to select something by another poet they saw as essential reading in 2017. The result is the 20/20 Collection, a selection of forty poems that reflect the diverse and vibrant range of voices in our contemporary literature.

The final, complete collection is available below, or you can download the free electronic version via this link: The 20/20 Collection. Follow this additional link for our Teachers' Notes.

The 20/20 poets, paired with their choice, are as follows: Jenny Bornholdt/ Ish Doney, Diana Bridge/ John Dennison, David Eggleton/ Leilani Tamu, Paula Green/ Simone Kaho, Michael Harlow/Paul Schimmel, Kevin Ireland/ Gregory Kan, Andrew Johnston/ Bill Nelson, Bill Manhire/ Louise Wallace, Selina Tusitala Marsh/ Reihana Robinson, Cilla McQueen/ David Kārena-Holmes, James Norcliffe/ Marisa Cappetta, Vincent O’Sullivan/ Lynley Edmeades, Tusiata Avia/ Teresia Teaiwa, Richard Reeve/Michael Steven, Elizabeth Smither/ Rob Hack, C. K. Stead/ Johanna Emeney, Robert Sullivan/ Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Apirana Taylor/ Kiri Piahana-Wong, Brian Turner/ Jillian Sullivan, Alison Wong/ Chris Tse.

Welcome to our 20th anniversary celebration!

I cannot write a poem about Gaza

Tusiata Avia

from Fale Aitu | Spirit House
(Victoria University Press)

Tusiata Avia

Tusiata Avia was born in Christchurch in 1966, of Samoan descent. She is an acclaimed poet, performer and children’s book writer. Her previous poetry collections are Wild Dogs Under My Skirt (VUP, 2004; also staged as a one-woman theatre show around the world from 2002–2008) and Bloodclot (VUP, 2009). Her latest collection Fale Aitu / Spirit House (VUP, 2016) was shortlisted for the Ockham NZ Book Awards 2017. Avia has held the Fulbright Pacific Writer’s Fellowship at the University of Hawai’i in 2005 and the Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at University of Canterbury in 2010. She was also the 2013 recipient of the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award. She teaches creative writing and performing arts at Manukau Institute of Technology.

Tusiata Avia’s Choice: ‘Fear of Flying (in broken Gilbertese)’ by Teresia Teaiwa