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The 20/20 Collection

In 2017, 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!


Apirana Taylor

when i hear the haka
i feel it in my bones
and in my wairua
the call of my tipuna
flashes like lightning
up and down my spine
it makes my eyes roll
and my tongue flick
it is the dance
of earth and sky
the rising sun
and the earth shaking
it is the first breath of life
eeeee aaa ha haaa

from A Canoe in Mid Stream
(Canterbury University Press)

Apirana Taylor

Apirana Taylor is from the Ngati Porou, Te Whanau a Apanui, and Ngati Ruanui tribes, and also Pakeha heritage. He is a prolific poet, playwright, novelist, short story writer, story teller, actor, painter, and musician. His poems and short stories are frequently studied in schools at NCEA and tertiary level. His poetry and prose has been published nationally and internationally, and translated into several languages. Apirana frequently travels to schools, libraries, tertiary institutions and prisons to read his poetry, tell his stories, and take creative writing workshops. His new novel Five Strings (Anahera Press) was launched at the Auckland Writers Festival 2017.

Apirana Taylor’s Choice: ‘Hine Rangi’ by Kiri Piahana Wong