Rapture: An Anthology of Performance Poetry from Aotearoa New Zealand
Edited by Carrie Rudzinski and Grace Iwashita-Taylor
A snapshot of contemporary performance poetry in Aotearoa.
These poems roam the streets looking for a fight, question who we are and who we are growing into, examine the weaponisation and reclaiming of language. These poems take lovers to bed, scream into the depths of sadness and reclaim bodies. These poems decolonise and re-indigenise, swim in the moana, reshape the word ‘home’. These poems belly laugh deep, sprawl out under a blanket of stars and point into the wonder, wax nostalgic for the friends we have and the friends we have lost. These poems are family – a brilliant representation of the diversity of voice, talent, experience and desires of real writers, real poets, real people of Aotearoa.
— from the Introduction
From the South Auckland Poets Collective to regional writers festivals, at poetry slams and open mic nights, in theatre works like Show Ponies and Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, performance poetry has taken off in Aotearoa.
In this anthology, ninety performance poets, rappers, spoken-word artists, slam poets, theatre makers, genre blenders and storytellers come together to celebrate the diverse voices and communities within Aotearoa – including Ben Brown and Mohamed Hassan, Grace Iwashita-Taylor and Tusiata Avia, Nathan Joe and Dominic Hoey, Freya Daly Sadgrove, David Eggleton and Selina Tusitala Marsh.
Rapture is a parallel narrative about contemporary poetry in Aotearoa – one that doesn’t just sit on the page, but leaps from it.
Carrie Rudzinski has performed her work over the past 17 years in six countries and has been featured in Bustle, HuffPost and Teen Vogue. She ranked 4th in the world at the 2014 Women of the World Poetry Slam, won the 2019 Pussy Riot Award at Auckland Fringe Festival, and co-founded Auckland’s JAFA Poetry Slam. Her poems have been published in Landfall, The Spinoff, Stasis Journal, Catalyst and Muzzle, among others. She is the author of seven books and five spoken word albums, and from 2016–2020 she taught the only spoken word course offered at a tertiary level in Oceania at Manukau Institute of Technology. Carrie is the co-creator of three poetry theatre shows – How We Survive (2019), The Bitching Hour (2023) and Hysterical (2022) – the latter of which won Best New Aotearoa Play at the Wellington Theatre Awards and Outstanding Performance Poetry at Auckland Fringe Festival.
Grace Iwashita-Taylor, breathing bloodlines of Samoa, England and Japan, is an artist of upu/words on the page, digital storytelling and live performance, and is dedicated to carving, elevating, and holding spaces for storytellers of Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa. She is a recipient of the CNZ Emerging Pacific Artist 2014 and the Auckland Mayoral Writers Grant 2016, and highlights of her work include holding the visiting international writer in residence at the University of Hawaiʻi in 2018, and being a co-founder of the first youth poetry slam in Aotearoa, Rising Voices (2011–2016) and the South Auckland Poets Collective. She has published two collections, Afakasi Speaks (2013) and Full Broken Bloom (2017) with ala press, is the writer of My Own Darling commissioned by Auckland Theatre Company (2015, 2017, 2019), and curator of UPU (Auckland Arts Festival 2020 & Kia Mau Festival 2021). Alongside Dr Lana Lopesi, she is co-director of Flying Fetu Festival, dedicated to building abundant futures for Moana artists of upu/word. Grace is currently working on her next body of work, ‘Water Memories’.
Nafanua Purcell Kersel
For My Wairua
Natalya Tongotea and Kat Taufalele
Jai Ngaranoa Selkirk
爱华 ไอวา Aiwa Pooamorn
Kyla Dela Cruz
Zephyr Zhang 张挚
Te Kahu Rolleston
Maggie Leigh White
Rosanna Raymond a.k.a. Sistar S’pacific
Jess Holly Bates
Freya Daly Sadgrove
Alina Siegfried a.k.a. Ali Jacs
Selina Tusitala Marsh
Ryan Gordon Teura a.k.a. Lazy Eye
Dietrich John Soakai
Aiga Tupulaga Poementary | Mokos Wilco Strickson-Pua, Jayda Pocock, Cheden Ah Yek Strickson-Pua
and Papa Mua Strickson-Pua
Moefiainu Feagai Fenunuivao Daisy Lavea-Timo a.k.a. Daisy Speaks
Ruby Lupe Ah-Wai Macomber
Renee Liang 梁文蔚
Rex Letoa Paget
Henrietta (Etta) Bollinger
Nadine Anne Hura
Ngā Hinepūkōrero | Manaia Tuwhare-Hoani, Terina Wichman-Evans, Arihia Hall and Matariki Bennett