Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My NZ Poetry Adventure

I just spent an amazing week in New Zealand for the IBBY Congress and enjoyed sharing my poetry poster, meeting New Zealand poets, soaking up a panel dedicated to poetry, chatting with a Latvian publisher of poetry, checking out poetry at the downtown library and area museums, and seeing the country's plans for their National Poetry Day (TODAY!). So fun! Here are a few highlights. So gratifying to learn we are part of a global poetry community!

I had my poster printed on a scarf and then WORE my poster-scarf for the rest of the conference! Check out (but get a Groupon first and it only cost $20 plus $10 for shipping!).

I met these poets at the conference and was excited to point out to Jenny and Paula that their work was featured on my poster. Bought Paula's massive book (pictured in blue) and got her to autograph it too! Don't miss this excellent website:

She is publishing 100 individual Latvian poems as little cardboard books with art by various well-known Latvian illustrators-- to reach pre-school children and their families in particular! Check out

This panel featured poetry exclusively and here Helen O'Carroll talked about verse novels including works by Holly Thompson, Allan Wolf, Kwame Alexander, Ann E. Burg, and Karen Hesse, as well as Australian and New Zealand novels in verse.

Here's an example of the reader response to THE WATCH THAT ENDS THE NIGHT by Allan Wolf from a NZ teen.

American professor and author Chris Crowe shared the fascinating process that emerged as he created his novel in verse, DEATH COMING UP THE HILL about a teen struggling with war in the world and in his family, written entirely in haiku and containing one syllable for each soldier who died in the Vietnam War.

Check out this shelf of poetry books at the downtown public library (including UNBEELIEVABLES, ECHO ECHO, WATER SINGS BLUE), plus the first issue of the NZ School Journal, THE source of literature provided to ALL NZ children for years and years-- including now.

A participatory magnetic poetry wall at the main cultural museum (Te Papa) in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

Yes, National Poetry Day is held on the last Friday of August every year in New Zealand (since 1997) and there are tons of activities planned for all ages. Wish I could stay for it!


Elaine Magliaro said...

Wish I could have been there with you! Sounds like such fun to a poetry lover like me.

Liz Steinglass said...

Wow! What a great adventure and experience. But I have to admit I'm blown away by the fact that you printed your poster on your scarf! That is simply brilliant!

Sylvia Vardell said...

It was a wonderful experience all around! And thanks for the kind words. I love my poetry poster scarf and will do that in the future too! So much better than a rolled up poster that you don't know what to do with later!