Chalky words take poetry to the street

Chalk artist uses her work to inspire others to engage with the community creatively.

Chalk artist uses her work to inspire others to engage with the community creatively.

Robyn Hancock: Making her mark in chalk around the town. She says the point of her work is to make poetry accessible for people. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

Have you ever seen the lines of chalk-set lyrics decorating the pavement and walls around Gisborne? If you have, you might also have sought to imagine the hand behind these poetic musings.

Meet chalk artist Robyn Hancock, the poet who has been decorating Gisborne’s central business district and Kaiti Mall for the past three years.

“The whole point of the chalk poetry is to make poetry accessible for people, along with finding a media that is easy to use and maintain,” says Hancock.

“Plus it adds a hint of arts and literary culture to the place, whilst hopefully changing the stereotype of poetry being only for a select group.”

Occasionally Hancock uses her street poetry as a backdrop for busking. Writing since childhood, she is often inspired by her earlier work.

“I like to select ideas that are positive and thought provoking, sometimes with a hint of social and political issues, but in a light-hearted fashion.”

Hancock also uses her work to inspire others to engage with the community creatively.

“A few people have shared how they have felt the benefits in terms of well-being and looking forward to seeing my mahi (work) around,” she says.

While the majority of Hancock’s work is on the street, she is not opposed to more traditional platforms, and featured in the recently released Turanganui Poets Collective Volume 1.

“I would like to thank Katarina Reedy and Shauna Ray Ratapu as they have provided many opportunities for me, including being published in the Turanganui poets book.

“Other publishers, such as Teira Naahi, have been extremely influential, helping me gain publication online and in my development as a writer.”

Check out Hancock’s latest instalment on the blackboard outside HB Williams Memorial Library.

Have you ever seen the lines of chalk-set lyrics decorating the pavement and walls around Gisborne? If you have, you might also have sought to imagine the hand behind these poetic musings.

Meet chalk artist Robyn Hancock, the poet who has been decorating Gisborne’s central business district and Kaiti Mall for the past three years.

“The whole point of the chalk poetry is to make poetry accessible for people, along with finding a media that is easy to use and maintain,” says Hancock.

“Plus it adds a hint of arts and literary culture to the place, whilst hopefully changing the stereotype of poetry being only for a select group.”

Occasionally Hancock uses her street poetry as a backdrop for busking. Writing since childhood, she is often inspired by her earlier work.

“I like to select ideas that are positive and thought provoking, sometimes with a hint of social and political issues, but in a light-hearted fashion.”

Hancock also uses her work to inspire others to engage with the community creatively.

“A few people have shared how they have felt the benefits in terms of well-being and looking forward to seeing my mahi (work) around,” she says.

While the majority of Hancock’s work is on the street, she is not opposed to more traditional platforms, and featured in the recently released Turanganui Poets Collective Volume 1.

“I would like to thank Katarina Reedy and Shauna Ray Ratapu as they have provided many opportunities for me, including being published in the Turanganui poets book.

“Other publishers, such as Teira Naahi, have been extremely influential, helping me gain publication online and in my development as a writer.”

Check out Hancock’s latest instalment on the blackboard outside HB Williams Memorial Library.

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