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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!


Lynley Edmeades

Winter has grown on us – the cool breeze
no longer shocks and the birds carry on

with their sunshine-fed song. Around
their eyes are thin yellow orbs that seem there
to contain, hold that avian pupil in place.

It's all a question of relativity, you say –
the years felt so long as a child.
But back then, a year was a quarter
of your entire life. Now it's a mere tilt

of the head – something that's a little bit more
than nothing, a frame growing smaller
as the days pull at the skin around your eyes.

And yet the point remains the same:
what will be will never be contained.


from As the Verb Tenses
(Otago University Press)

Lynley Edmeades

Lynley Edmeades had her first collection As the Verb Tenses published by Otago University Press in 2016. Her poetry has been published in NZ, Australia, the UK and the USA. In 2011 she completed an MA at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University, Belfast, and she is currently completing a doctoral thesis at the University of Otago, looking at sound in avant-garde poetics. Lynley was one of four New Zealand poets featured in 'Poems in Your Pocket' for National Poetry Day 2016. She lives in Dunedin with her partner and her cat.