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Lambing Season


They may be lambs, but these young Canterbury poets are shaking tales and getting noticed! The Canterbury Poets’ Collective with support of Phantom Billstickers brings you LAMBING SEASON, some of the best Canterbury poets under-25 to celebrate National Poetry Day this year. Four guest poets – Sarah-Kate Simons, Ben O’Connell, Isla Huia, and Liz Ayrey – plus an open mic exclusively for our under-25s and MC’d by current Ōtautahi slam champion Claudia Jardine! Don’t miss this one.

$10 for adults; $5 for students; under-12 free. All proceeds go to help the Canterbury Poets’ Collective bring more poets and more poetry to more people.

  • Venue: Eastside Gallery (388 Worcester Street)
  • Time: doors open at 6.00 pm for a 6.30 pm start (8.30 pm finish)
  • Tix: $10 adults; $5 students; under-12s are free
  • Recommended audience is 12+.

Isla Huia (Te Āti Haunui a-Pāpārangi, Uenuku) is a reo Māori teacher, writer and musician. Her work has been published in journals such as Catalyst and Awa Wāhine, and her debut collection of poetry, Talia, was released in May 2023 with Dead Bird Books Publishers. She has performed at the national finals of Rising Voices Youth Poetry Slam and the National Poetry Slam, as well as at Christchurch’s Word Festival. Isla can most often be found writing in Ōtautahi with FIKA Collective, and Ōtautahi Kaituhi Māori.

Sarah-Kate Simons is a writer and poet originally from rural Canterbury but now based in Tauranga. She has been widely published and is currently studying a Diploma in Writing for Creative Industries. In 2021, she placed second in the Year 12 category of the 2021 Poetry NZ Yearbook poetry competition and won the Junior Haiku section of the New Zealand Poetry Society competition. In 2020, she won the open (adult) category of the 2022 NZ Given Words competition and HG Wells International Short Story Competition. Writing poetry for years has left her using words like ‘melancholia’ and ‘somnolent’ in day-to-day conversation, but despite this, she remains terrible at word games. She has a great affinity for moss, the theatre, quoting mythology out of context, and macaroni. In her free time, she watches strangers or wanders the wilds in search of inspiration.

Ben O’Connell is a chronically-online magazine reporter, quizzard, and bedroom poet who has always called Ōtautahi home. His words are normally queer angst or ads for tradies – no in between.

Elizabeth Ayrey is an Ōtautahi-based poet whose work features in places such as Tarot, fingers comma toes, and a fine line. She was a 2021 winner of the New Zealand Poetry Society’s international competition. When not writing, she can be found working at Punting on the Avon and endeavouring to beat her personal record on Geoguessr. Her current favourite word is ‘loquacious.’

Claudia Jardine (our host and MC for the night) is the author of BITER (AUP, 2023) and the current Ōtautahi poetry slam champion. She was a 2021 Te Matatiki Toi Ora (The Arts Centre) Creative Resident and a 2021 Verb Festival Micro Resident. She graduated from Victoria University of Wellington | Te Herenga Waka in 2020 with a Master of Arts in Classics, where she won a Marsden Grant for Masters scholarship and the 2020 Alex Scobie Research Prize for her Masters’ thesis on intertextuality in the Alexiad. Her first chapbook, ‘The Temple of Your Girl’, was published in AUP New Poets 7 (2020). In 2019, she independently released the North EP, and her first single ‘Hide’ reached #1 on RDU’s Te Ahi Top Ten and #3 on The Student Radio Network’s Top 10. Her favourite jam is boysenberry, and at the moment, her favourite bird is the pūtakitaki.


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