A poem when you park

By Dunedin City of Literature | Posted: Thursday August 25, 2016

Next time you pay for parking, your ticket might come with a poem.

Dunedin became a UNESCO City of Literature in 2014. Director City of Literature Nicky Page is excited to celebrate National Poetry Day on 26 August with the roll-out of poems in an unexpected location – on the back of tickets from some pay and display parking meters.

The idea grew from a concept created by design students Benjamin Alder and Liam Bigelow, whose Poetick machines impressed Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, when she visited Dunedin in 2015.

Mr Alder says, “By printing poetry on pay and display tickets we hope to turn people's parking experience from a dull chore into something they can look forward to. In future we aim to provide an online platform that will allow for anybody around the world to submit poetry.”

Poems by eight well-known local poets will be printed on the back of the tickets to launch the pilot in time for National Poetry Day. The poets featured are Ruth Arnison, Diane Brown, Jonathan Cweorth, James Dignan, Lynley Edmeades, David Eggleton, Ian Loughran and Carolyn McCurdie.

Ms Page says, “It is a perfect way to celebrate poetry and make it surprising and fun. We're very grateful to the poets for their wonderful poems. It works like a special lucky dip – if you need to top up the meter, you’ll score a new poem.”

Poems will be added to machines around the city as existing ticket rolls run out. Since information is already printed on the back of the tickets, the printing cost will not increase.

Ms Page says, “We hope the initiative will be well received, and if so we plan to add more and more poems by local poets into the mix, including poems by emerging poets and young poetry competition winners. There could be a great opportunity here for the avid collector!”

To find out more about Dunedin’s City of Literature status, visit http://www.cityofliterature.co.nz/

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