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Te Tairawhiti poetry competition

Entries have closed and the poetry is in! Welcome to something a little different for your housebound arts and entertainment pages.

Last week the lockdown shuttered our theatres, silenced bands and kept bar taps unnaturally dry, so on a whim, The Herald decided to replace the arts lost to isolation.

And so Te Tairawhiti Poetry Competition came into existence at 12 noon on Saturday and closed at the same time on Wednesday.

In the space of those four days, Tairawhiti came out swinging. Together locals punched out over 100 poems for the competition.

Although this lockdown has taken away much, it has given us time.

A huge thank you to those who helped entertain and inspire the community by reading their favourite poems on our social media.

The best part about this competition has been discovering how many people love poetry.

I have always been an avid reader but never got much from poems — how foolish I have been.

I devoured the poems sent in about locals’ love, loneliness and fondness for lambs’ tails. I’m full — I may have sat down for too much poetry in one sitting.

Unfortunately, we don’t have space for everyone’s work to be shown here, although we’ll endeavour to print some of the longer pieces submitted in the coming weeks.

(I received 102 poems made up of 9285 words, using 47,532 characters, basically a short novel).

Thank you to the principals, teachers, parents and you for pushing for poetry.

We cannot control politics nor war, but poetry is ours.

I can’t wait for you to read the beautiful things our people have written, published in these pages.

Take this paper and leave it about the house, reading each poem a second time or three.

My favourite poems grew more delightful as I came back for more. And hey, you’ve got the time, be sure to digest.

Winners will be announced next week after getting advice from professional poetry people.

Many thanks to Steph Barnett for putting together the artwork for this competition in quick-smart time.

  1. Ron Taylor says:

    What a buzz to see all the poems, in the paper. I finished school in 1953 and have always felt that despite good intentions, a lot of people were put off poetry via the education system. I hope I don’t offend people by saying that, but it is my opinion. I had an experience once in Invercargill when I was rung by this great big rough man who worked for the same outfit as me. He was a bit “rough and tough and came from Bluff”, sort of a guy who liked drinking, telling jokes and swore like the proverbial trooper as well. He said to me he believed I was into poetry and we ended up discussing Swinburne, Shelley, Browning, Marvell, etc. Never judge a book by its cover, seems appropriate in retrospect. I started writing doggerel in 1964 and it is one of my lifelong passions.