new zealand electronic poetry centre


Tapa Notebooks



Michele Leggott is the co-founder with Brian Flaherty of the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc). She was the Inaugural New Zealand Poet Laureate 2008-09 and her most recent collection is Mirabile Dictu (Auckland UP, 2009).

Michele Leggott writes:

I’ve given Tapa Notebooks to visiting poets and to locals travelling overseas, and watched the notebooks come back to Special Collections filled with ‘notations of value’ (Chris Abani). As of June 2011, there are 17 notebooks in the collection and online and several more still out travelling. Last September I took a notebook to Australia for the second part of nzepc’s HOME & AWAY 2010, a trans-Tasman poetry symposium for Auckland and Sydney. The result is ‘many hands,’ a record of ten days in New South Wales from which emerged my contribution to the second part of ALL TOGETHER NOW, the digital bridge that was built for the symposium.

What’s in the notebook? Everything I caught going past and could get down or paste in: pleasures and discoveries, connections and mysteries, and above all the delight of movement that brings with it words. Many times I drew around my own hand, sometimes on top of the words, sometimes not. I passed the notebook around in Sydney and back home so that there would be other hands on the pages.

The first Christchurch earthquake occurred as the symposium finished 4 September. By the time I took the notebook to Special Collections with this year’s Poetry off the Page class, the 22 February earthquake and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 11 March had overtaken us. My notebook belongs to the moment before crisis, before poets like everyone else had to find words to address those disasters. But its strategy of many hands holds good in a time of calamity as surely as it brought us among friends old and new across the Tasman.

  Many Hands


Guide dog Olive and Poetry off the Page students in Special Collections, 5 April 2011 (Photos: Ashley Ferguson)


Last updated 14 July, 2011