Poetry, Hamilton Style

Hamilton based poet Richard Selinkoff

Hamilton based poet Richard Selinkoff

‘Poetry, Hamilton Style’ is an audio documentary series made in collaboration with four poets from the city of Hamilton; Daniel Bennett, Richard Selinkoff, Rex Dunn and Cilla M.

The project had its roots in a series of fundraisers organised for Auteur House, a world  cinema DVD rental store down the seedy end of Hamilton’s main street. With some 10,000 titles on the shelves, it remains one of  NZ’s most comprehensive private film collections. A labor of love rather than a profitable endeavor, the fundraising evenings featured an esoteric collection of local performers, in particular poets.

What struck me most about these evening was the quality of the poetry on display, that and the heartfelt readings from the poets themselves. I had never been much of a poetry fan but was moved enough by the experience to create an audio record of their work, to preserve it and share it.

I like them all equally, all for different reasons.

Richard Selinkoff is a well spring of pithy observation and delightful asides and  his words dance with rhythmic abandon

Rex Dunn is a retired school teacher down on his luck,  both financially and emotionally. His is a joyous exploration of his love of words and a deeply honest and moving summation of his life’s regrets.

Then there’s Daniel Bennett. Mad and esoteric, Bennett’s effortless surrealism drew him rapturous applause the one  time he performed at an Auteur House fundraiser.

And as for Cilla M, this young woman, bruised and haunted by a series of tragic events, speaks with striking maturity about her search for a place in life.

This project has not just been about words, it has been about the thoughts, feelings and observations of a disparate group of people, all from different stages of life. It certainly opened my eyes to the power of the poetic form, especially when read aloud  by the author.

I plan to do more in the future, I am just waiting for the right people to cross my path.


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