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Your high five events for Tuesday 21 August

Poetry, memoir, art, a satirical alpinist and physics are on the menu today across the city.

In an age of hurtling digital expansion, poet David Merrit has constructed his poetry books by hand from using recycled Readers’ Digests to create poem books that are unmistakably, uniquely his own. A cluster of 23 individual poems, assembled into a Poetry Brick, will be installed at Black Coffee, 133 Riddiford Street, Newtown (one of 23 places nationwide) for the public to read, enjoy and share. The Poetry Brick is available for overnight use at bookclubs,  potlucks and BBQ’s, open mics etc, and includes travelling notes for multiple curators. The poet will also be on nationwide tour at the same time in the days leading up to Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day on 24 August and will address the poems as he finds them. A free all-day event, all welcome to share.

Hours after the 2011 Canterbury Earthquake, Kaikōura-based doctor Chris Henry crawled through the burning CTV building to assist in the rescue of those who were trapped. Six years later his daughter Chessie Henry interviewed him in an attempt to understand the trauma that led her father to burnout, in the process unravelling stories and memories from her own remarkable family history. Chessie Henry will talk to Emily Perkins about her resulting book,  We Can Build a Life: A Memoir of Family, Earthquakes & Courage, in a lunchtime event (12:00pm to 12.45pm) at Unity Books, 57 Willis Street, supported by Victoria University Press. Chessie Henry grew up in Christchurch and Kaikōura and has had personal essays published in The Spinoff and The Wireless. She has a Master’s in Creative Writing from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters, and this is her first book.

Waitekauri by Elizabeth Thomson

The Friends of Te Papa and Page Blackie Gallery you to meet artist Elizabeth Thomson and view her latest exhibition, My Titirangi Years, at Page Blackie Gallery, 42 Victoria Street, from 5:00pm to 6:30pm. Elizabeth works at the interface between art and various forms of natural science and can be variously described as a surrealist, or a detached observer and investigator of the arcane and the remote. Tickets are $18 for Friends or Gallery members, and $22 for the public, and include a welcome glass of wine and the opportunity to ask questions of the arist during her talk.

Medical practitioner and amateur historian Dr Ian St George will present the unusual story of a man who described himself as an “unrestrainable dreamer of dreams” in the free talk, William F Howlett BA: Journalist, Alpinist,  Naturalist, Teacher, from  5:30pm to 6:30pm at Te Ahumairangi on the Ground Floor of the National Library of New Zealand, corner of Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Thorndon. William Howlett arrived in New Zealand in 1875 to begin a peripatetic life as schoolteacher, storekeeper, satirist, alpinist, politician, naturalist and thorn in the side of authority — an articulate, straight talking, intelligent, cynical man generally regarded as a bit odd.

Years 12 and 13 students thinking about studying science at university should take the free opportunity to attend UC Science Inspired, and find out how science can help you change the world. Brought to you by the University of Canterbury, UC Science Inspired runs from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Wellington College Library, 15 Dufferin Street, Basin Reserve, and outlines where science is heading, where the jobs are going to be, and what UC has to offer. The event includes a special guest presentation by international physicist, author and science communicator extraordinaire Laurie Winkless. Students (and parents) can register here.