Student Jake Genet and English teacher Kelvin Furze prepare for the poetry slam at Timaru Boys High School.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Student Jake Genet and English teacher Kelvin Furze prepare for the poetry slam at Timaru Boys High School.

Timaru will celebrate National Poetry Day in New Zealand for the first time with an inter-high school poetry slam on August 26.

Already 10 young poets from Timaru Boys High, Craighead Diocesan and Mountainview have come forward to perform, with 20 more slots open.

Event organizer and TBHS English teacher Kelvin Furze thought poetry was a “good tool for mental health” and was thrilled there was an event to support young writers in the district.

“Teenagers have a lot going on in their lives and poetry is a great way for them to express themselves.”

READ MORE:
* Former Timaru writer to headline Young Writers Festival
* Timaru-born poet Jordan Hamel will make his Fringe Festival debut
* Upcoming feminist poetry performance in Palmerston North

Furze said the event, in which people perform their own personal poetry in front of an audience and judges, took place “mainly because we saw that not much is happening in Timaru, and it It’s National Poetry Day, so we thought we’d make an effort to support the day and get in on the action”.

“Teenagers have a lot to say.”

The event will take place at TBHS, with $150 in prizes up for grabs, provided by event sponsor Phantom Billstickers.

Jake Genet is one of three Timaru Boys High School students enrolled in the interscholastic poetry slam.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Jake Genet is one of three Timaru Boys High School students enrolled in the interscholastic poetry slam.

“We’ll see what appetites look like, and we might make it an annual event,” Furze said.

“In a school for boys, poetry becomes discreet.”

However, poetry is gaining popularity in the district with Timaru-born, Mountainview High School graduate Jordan Hamel winning the New Zealand Poetry Slam Championship title in 2018 and representing the country at the World Poetry Slam Champs in 2019.

“He’s a great role model for guys,” Furze said.

“We watched one of his poems in my class.”