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Does literature matter?

Does literature matter? Simon Armitage  (UK Poet Laureate) and Chris Tse (NZ Poet Laureate) in conversation on stage at the National Library of New Zealand auditorium.

On the weekend my partner and I made a quick trip down to the capital (Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington) to hear the UK and Aoteaora NZ Poet Laureates, Simon Armitage and Chris Tse, answer the question: does literature matter?

During the event – put on by Verb Wellington and the British Council, held at the National Library of New Zealand – they spoke about (among many other things):

  • their roles as poet laureates
  • being paid with 800 bottles of sherry
  • being a writer in residence in your own study
  • poetry about velux windows and kitchen cabinets
  • being told “you don’t have to do anything”
  • how negative space allows the reader to reflect on what they’ve just read

A fascinating, engaging, and accessible chat. I really enjoyed it!

Simon also spoke with Radio New Zealand just before the event I attended. You can listen to a recording of that interview here.

I prepared a quick 30-second video of the day, including a few shots around the city. Here’s the link, or watch below:


UK and NZ Poet Laureates Simon Armitage and Chris Tse answering the question: Does literature matter? ✍️📚 #Poetry #Poet #PoetLaureate #Literature #Wellington #NewZealand #Library

♬ I Moeroa / Woke Up Late – Drax Project
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