Numerous bookshop events around the country contributed to taking Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day next level in 2019, with a very impressive overall total of around160 events nationwide.

Featherston Booktown hosted busking poet David Merrit as their Poet in Residence in the week leading up to National Poetry Day, and on 23 August itself all six of the town’s bookshops held in-store events.

Wardini Books went old-school to give their Havelock North and Napier communities the chance to express themselves on the street, with a typewriter outside both stores for a week, inviting passers-by to grab a blank page and start typing a poem!

Readings drew strong numbers in Unity Books in Wellington, Scorpio Books in Christchurch, Poppies in New Plymouth and Time Out in Auckland, and UBS Canterbury and Vic Books in Wellington were amongst the number of other bookshops that registered events for 2019. Several stores, like Marsden Books in Wellington, also took the opportunity to turn the spotlight on poetry books in-store, with strong displays.

Poetry was also found in art galleries, schools, libraries and bars, and on beaches, buses and radio in over 55 cities, towns and online locations, both nationally and internationally. With something for everyone, the 2019 calendar offered an abundance of activities and opportunities from the numerous community events to the more ambitious performances. The takeaway message from this year’s campaign is that Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day is growing, and people are loving it!

Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day also made a big splash in the media. The Weekend Herald made poetry their Canvas cover story in the lead-up – rising stars Tayi Tibble and Sugar Magnolia Wilson were interviewed and splashed across the cover. Other highlights included Courtney Sina Meredith’s powerful and compelling interview with John Campbell on TV ONE Breakfast; Sugar Magnolia Wilson’s interview with Jeremy Corbett for TV THREE The Project; and Radio NZ Afternoons hugely popular flash poetry competition, judged by 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards finalist Erik Kennedy. And #NZPoetryDay was trending across social media channels before midday.

All four of the 2019 Ockhams finalists for the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for poetry were also front and centre in Phantom Billstickers eye-catching, nationwide street poster campaign.