Guerrilla Poets- Auckland Central, New Zealand

ORGANIZERS: Miriam Barr

CONTACT: miriamtbarr AT gmail DOT com

You & The Guerrilla Poets: A street-art event for 100 Thousand Poets for Change

The Set Up

You & The Guerrilla Poets involved the Guerrilla Poets and The Literatti banding together to bring poetry to the central city streets of Auckland with a poetry trail that followed the footsteps of the famous 1969 demonstration that saw thousands of hippies and political activists take over Albert Park as a space for the people.

Everyone was invited to join the poets at midday at Myers Park. Armed with chalk, poetry banners and their voices the plan was to process along Queen Street, up Wellesley Street and into Albert Park, chalking, performing and handing out poetic messages of change as they go. The event would finish up in Albert Park and an attempt to completely fill in the area with poetry and get as many people as possible to interact with the message for change.

The Guerrilla Poets have been hitting the streets of Auckland to chalk moments of inspiration for unsuspecting passers-by since 2006 when Miriam Barr, Renee Liang and Christian Jensen met at Poetry Live and started organising group missions. When Barr received the 100 Thousand Poets for Change call out for public events, she says “A special guerrilla mission made perfect sense, this project has always been quite literally about bringing poetry to the street.” The Literatti’s involvement also fitted perfectly, their current project reTHiNK Possible Worlds, seeks to change public attitudes to mental health, so that is one theme passers-by can expect to see transforming the cityscape on the 24th – though participants are encouraged to share whatever message they wish.

You & The Guerrilla Poets on Facebook

The Outcome

Armed with poetry banners sharing poems in bite-sized chunks Miriam Barr, Christian Jensen, Daniel Larsen and Shane Hollands of The Literatti and their fellow Guerrilla Poets Rachael Naomi Heimann, Christie Orr and Simon Smithe gathered in Myers Park and by 12:30 had starting hitting the pavement with their words.

The group walked from Myers Park up the steps onto Mayoral Drive, down Queen Street, across the lights onto Wellesley St and up into Albert Park, once home to the historic Jumping Sundays, where they were met by reinforcements in the form of Richie Paine, Simone Kaho, Anna Forsyth and some newbies. The troupe joined up with a sustainability rally and left the surrounding area decorated with poetic messages of change that should last at least a couple of days in real life and hopefully a fair bit longer in memory.

Throughout the day members of the public were invited in to add their voice to the message and have their photo taken with a banner they agree with.

Poetry banners bore text by Malcolm X, Michael Rothenberg, and poets from The Literatti including Miriam Barr, Christian Jensen, Daniel Larsen, Shane Hollands, Jai MacDonald, Maddy King and Simone Kaho. The text on The Literatti’s flags all originated from their reTHiNK Possible Worlds show. Visit www.theliteratti.com to find out more about the reTHiNK Possible Worlds show and message.

reTHiNK Possible Worlds is supported by a reTHiNK Grant as part of the Like Minds, Like Mine programme, a national NZ initiative to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental unwellness. We are all human beings navigating the maze of life. Today seemed to expand on that – we are all beings navigating the maze of life.

The Evidence

Photos by Christian Jensen

The recordings coming soon

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Guerrilla Poets- Auckland Central, New Zealand — 7 Comments

  1. DETAILS OF THE AUCKLAND EVENT ANNOUNCED

    The Guerrilla Poets are answering the world-wide call to bring poets to the street with their messages of change… and everyone is invited.

    We’re basing our event on the 1969 world-famous-in-New-Zealand march from Meyers Park to ‘take back’ Albert Park ‘for the people’. In those days Meyers Park was a designated place for people to gather and speak and had become a gathering point for vocal hippy protesters of the day. One of the city ‘fathers’ publicly warned, ‘those hippies better not try to take over Albert Park’ – and the following week 2 000 of them did that very thing.

    These days we have NO designated place to gather and speak.
    On the 24th of September, Guerrilla Poets reverse this state of affairs.

    We’ll start in Meyers Park for a Soap-Box poetry reading (speakers TBA) and chalking mission. We’ll then process up to Albert Park, hopefully gathering people as we go and finish up with another Soap-Box performance and chalking mission up there.

    EVERYONE is invited – poets, performers, musicians, artists – bring something poetic with a message of change. You could read it, chalk it, paint it on a banner, print it and give it away, sing it – whatever you want.

    If you’d like to perform, email miriamtbarr AT gmail DOT com. Otherwise absolutely anyone can be involved in chalking or handing out copies of their poems and the general celebration. There’s not going to be any kind of amplification unless someone has a megaphone – in which case bring it – this is going to be organic and as impromptu as possible. That’s how we roll.

    Bring your outside voices, you inner child, your portable instruments if you have them, chalk if you have some and poetry to hand out if you want to.

    Meet in Meyers Park at midday.
    We’ll start moving up to Albert Park at 1
    Finish when we feel like it.

    A bit of background to our event:

    “Looking for a place to gather to protest New Zealand’s military involvement in 1969, Tim Shadbolt led a march to take Albert Park back for the people. The Jumping Sundays began. A weekly hippie gathering, where people came in their thousands for a collision of politics, music, dancing. Sundays in Albert Park were the launching point for protests, relationships and political revolution.”

    Let’s have it back for one day – creative folk of the city – let’s gather, make poetry and music in the park and make it SAY something.

    Guerrilla Poets have a ‘gentleman’s’ agreement with the council – please stick to the pavements.

    Our aim is to invite people of all walks of life into poetry – we don’t want to scar little children, so please keep your public works of poetry family-friendly!


    • Press Release | 14/09/2011

      Auckland Poets Get on Board with the Largest Poetry Event in History = Are You In?

      600 events in 450 cities and 95 countries will take place on September 24 to promote environmental, social, and political change. Poetry demonstrations are being organized in political hotspots such as Cairo, Egypt. A poetry and peace gathering is planned in strife-torn Kabul and Jalalabad. In Mexico there are over 30 events. To date there are over 250 events in the United States. More examples of events can be found at the 100 Thousand Poets for Change website at http://www.100TPC.org.

      In New Zealand there are two events – both in Auckland. You & The Guerrilla Poets sees the Guerrilla Poets and The Literatti banding together to bring poetry to the central city streets with a poetry march that follows the footsteps of the 1969 demonstration that saw thousands of hippies take over Albert Park as a space for the people.

      Everyone is invited to join the poets at midday at Myers Park. Armed with chalk, poetry banners and their voices they’ll process along Queen Street, up Wellesley Street and into Albert Park, chalking, performing and handing out their poetic messages of change as they go. The event finishes up with a soap-box reading in Albert Park and an attempt to completely fill in the area around the fountain with poetry. Chalk is provided and it’s free to take part, people need only bring their outside voices or a spare hand to write with and something to say. Musicians and visual artists welcome.

      The Guerrilla Poets have been hitting the streets of Auckland to chalk moments of inspiration for unsuspecting passers-by since 2006 when Miriam Barr, Renee Liang and Christian Jensen met at Poetry Live and started organising group missions. When Barr received the 100 Thousand Poets for Change call out for public events, she says “A special guerrilla mission made perfect sense, this project has always been quite literally about bringing poetry to the street.” The Literatti’s involvement also fitted perfectly, their current project reTHiNK Possible Worlds, seeks to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental ‘illness’, so that is one theme passers-by can expect to see transforming the cityscape on the 24th – though participants are encouraged to share whatever message they wish. Their last mission saw the Henry Atkinson statue and an entire block in Titirangi filled in during the night. For You & The Guerrilla Poets they are coming out in broad daylight in a true celebration of poetry, change, and the spirit of ‘What If…?’

      For those looking for something a bit more traditional, Printable Reality is hosting a free poetry reading at Pah Homestead, which kicks off at 2 pm with some of the city’s best including the hilarious Brad McCormick (2011 Going West Slam Champion) and the esteemed Murray Edmond.

      Immediately following September 24th all documentation on the 100TPC.org website will be preserved by Stanford University in California, which has recognized 100 Thousand Poets for Change as an historical event, the largest poetry reading in history. The Guerrilla Poets will be uploading photos immediately following the event so our local messages of change will go down in history.

      Facebook Event http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=226384740730007
      Eventfinder http://www.eventfinder.co.nz/2011/you-the-guerrilla-poets-join-100-thousand-poets-for-change/auckland
      The Literatti http://www.theliteratti.com
      Printable Reality http://www.printablereality.co.nz

  2. September 24th has arrived blue and sunny in Auckland, New Zealand!

    We spent yesterday sewing poetry banners and stocking up on buckets of chalk.

    We’ve left most of this event up to chance and spontaneity, we have no idea what anyone is going to bring to share nor how many people will come to take part. The latter doesn’t even matter though – three Guerrilla Poets can fill in a city block in an hour or so.

    This could end up being half a dozen poets sharing poetry with the street or much more – somehow the NZ Herald got hold of it and advertised it as one of the featured events this week. So you never know how things are going to roll.

    Guerrilla Poets usually have a gentleman’s agreement with the council that they’ll leave us alone on the day as long as we ensure anything that isn’t rained or walked off is cleaned up a few days later. Interestingly, this time around, given the Rugby World Cup is also happening, they wanted us to get a permit. Well, that didn’t seem very Guerrilla, so we’ve not got a permit. Again, you never quite know how things are going to roll. In the past, the worst that has happened is security has eventually figured out what is happening and asked us to leave.
    So we’re going to have to get as much done as quickly as we can, just in case.

    The main part of our event happens after we leave anyway, when the pedestrians start wandering by and reading what we have left behind. It’ll stay for a day or two and then slowly fade back into the pavement.

  3. Not everyone who wanted to be there today could be. Heather McPherson was our Satellite Guerrilla, she chalked this poem in Western Springs and then emailed in the text.

    Footpath poems for World Poetry Day

    A poem dropped here
    Is it yours
    Take it anyway
    It could open the day to a miracle
    ***
    Open a poem for dinner
    There will be slices for everyone
    Everyone will be changed
    This is what poems do in the world
    ***
    If I give you a poem
    Will you use it to change the world
    Take this one and share it
    When you have loved it enough
    You will have changed your world
    ***
    Make a poem a day
    Soon you will have changing days
    and changed worlds
    under your eyelashes
    ***
    Lose your poem
    And somebody will find it
    This makes it a double-storyed poem
    Of astonishing connections
    ***

    from the Satellite Guerilla Poet of Mountain View Road
    Heather McPherson

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