a million poems for matariki

posted by Michele

Stanley Bay School poets with the laureate tokotoko.

How do you make a million poems for Matariki? Get the poets all around you onto the job, of course. We took blank posters to Stanley Bay Primary School yesterday and talked with every class about the Devonport Community project to get a sky-ful of poems around the neighbourhood June through July. The kids and their teachers were onto it. By 2.00 we had over 200 poster poems, and by 2.30 they were being chalked onto the playgrounds and walkways around the school. ‘Chalk your poem, then go and read it to ten other people,’ the teachers said. Parents and the local newspaper arrived to find the entire school buzzing with poems underfoot and in the air. Everyone was handed a piece of chalk and asked to join in. ‘Today our school is POEMY!’ said one of the poets with a huge grin.

Mary Margaret Slack dances with chalk poems

Michele listens to a Matariki poem.

Now it is raining and the gutters at Stanley Bay School will be streaming with bright colour. But the poets will be planning more poster poems and taking blanks home for family and friends. Next week blank posters go into other local schools and will be handed out to community groups. In early July the poems will appear in shop windows, galleries, the library and the community house as Matariki gets under way. Here is the mission we have set ourselves:

When the stars of Matariki come over the northeastern horizon just before dawn early in June the old year ends and a new year is beginning. Is the star cluster bright and jewel-like in a clear sky or a hazy shimmer in the east? Look up or look into your imagination and tell us what Matariki looks like from where you stand in the world of light. We'd like to have a sky-ful of poems to read and put up around our community, so write a poem on this poster and be part of A Million Poems for Matariki!

View more photos in the Stanley Bay School's Matariki gallery

Photo credits: Maire Vieth

2 comments:

paula green said...

Congratulations to Michele and all the young poets at Stanley Bay School. This is a great idea. I love the way poetry is tumbling over footpaths and stairways and making us lean heads back to look at the stars.

There must a thousand other ways we poets can go into schools and make poems sing and shine.

Here's to new and dazzling poetry projects that link schools, libraries and the wider world!

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