20-20 poet page Hero Image

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!

from This Paper Boat

Gregory Kan

After lunch my mother walks into the dining room
and my father and I both
blow our noses.

In the past when I thought about people my parents
were somehow
not among them. But some wound stayed

wide in all of us, and now I see in their faces
strange rivers and waterfalls, tilted over with broom.
You are watching the brown-paper covers of books grow

out around your father, as he dreams there
against the wall, thinking perhaps
how rocks are not quite lands.

from This Paper Boat
(Auckland University Press)

Gregory Kan

Gregory Kan is a writer based in Wellington. His poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in literary journals such as the Atlanta Review, Landfall, Listener, SPORT and Turbine. His poetry and philosophical work have also featured in exhibitions and publications for contemporary art institutions such as the Auckland Art Gallery, Artspace, the Adam Art Gallery, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and the Physics Room. His first book, This Paper Boat, was published by Auckland University Press in 2016. An earlier incarnation of This Paper Boat was shortlisted for the Kathleen Grattan Poetry Prize in 2013.The book was also shortlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for Best Poetry in 2017.