New Poem: Daddy, Snow

“Daddy, snow.
“Ben dig snow.”

And so with accompanying gestures I learn of the great adventure of the day.

And I see and feel it all.

I see the fresh, clean snowfall begging to be disturbed,
the ritual of hats, scarves, gloves, coats, boots,
that first stamp of a tiny foot.

Crunch!

I focus on the job in hand. With plastic red shovel I excavate the stuff.
I shriek with delight as powdery handfuls burst against the legs of mummy.
With the help of my sister I roll a sphere of it forward, push, push, push!
It soaks through my gloves and the knees of my trousers.

I head back inside.

Snow.

Meanwhile daddy is at work, telephoning, emailing, oblivious.

Poetry News Digest: April 2014

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The main stories about poetry from the month of April – a fairly quiet month by recent standards.

News

  • The actor Samuel L. Jackson performed a slam poem about the 1990s sitcom Boy Meets World on the Tonight Show. Read more at Time, Rolling Stone and The Daily Mail. Watch this video of the performance:

  • The USA celebrated its annual National Poetry Month, first introduced in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. Read more at Poets.org, Chicago Now and ReadWriteThink.
  • The British actors Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton teamed up with folk band Show of Hands to record a musical album of war poetry, that will be released later this year to mark the centenary of the First World War. Read more at Radio TimesThe Yorkshire Post and The Belfast Telegraph.

Show of Hands in Performance [Flickr Creative Commons © Martin Gibson]

Show of Hands in Performance
[Flickr Creative Commons © Martin Gibson]

Deaths

  • The Polish poet, dramatist and writer Tadeusz Różewicz, who belonged to the first generation of poets born after Poland regained independence in 1918, died aged 92. Read more at The Guardian, TheNews.pl and Warsaw Business Journal.

Awards

  • Vijay Seshadri won the 2014 Pultizer Prize for Poetry for his witty and philosophical collection of poems 3 Sections. Read more at NY Daily News, Economic Times and The Wall Street Journal. Read an interview with Seshadri at NPR. Watch Seshadri reading one of his poems:

  • Claudia Rankine won the $50,000 2014 Jackson Poetry Prize for her body of work that “pushes the boundaries of the contemporary lyric.” Read more at Publishers Weekly and The New York Times.

Book Releases

All ratings are from GoodReads as at 13/05/2014.

Poetry News Digest: March 2014

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A summary of all the key headlines from the world of poetry in March.

News

  • UNESCO’s World Poetry Day was celebrated on 21 March. In the UK, the public were encouraged to record themselves reading their favourite First World War poem in tribute to those who served. Read more at Gov.uk, 1914.org and The UN.
  • A ‘World Poetry Festival’ was held in Delhi from 21-24 March, featuring 50 poets from 21 countries including George Szirtes from the UK. Read more at The Indian Express and George Szirtes Blog.
  • Serhiy Zhadan, Ukraine’s most famous counter-culture poet, was beaten up by pro-Russian activists for being involved in the protests that resulted in the overthrow of President Yanukovich. Read more at The New Yorker and Melville House. Here is a video of Zhadan performing:

  • The North Korean state media released poems in the run-up to elections on 9 March. Titles included ‘The Billows Of Emotion And Happiness,’ ‘We Break Into Cheers From The Bottom Of Our Heart’ and ‘We Go To The Polling Station.’ Read more at BBC News, The Telegraph and The Wire.
  • A prisoner in HMP Parkhurst was forced to hand back a £25 poetry prize for inmates for plagiarising the poet Alison Chisholm. Read more at The Express and The Telegraph.
  • West Virginia officials tried to ban a student from reading ‘Black Diamonds,’ a poem about industrial disasters, at an awards ceremony. They were forced to back down in the face of public outrage. Read more at Raw Story, Crystal Good and The Register-Herald. Here is the student, Grace Pritt, reciting the poem:

  • An archivist at Brentwood School discovered poems in a school cupboard written by Douglas Adams and Griff Rhys Jones when they were teenagers. Read more at The Guardian, Brentwood Gazette and Wales Online.
  • The estate of Ted Hughes withdrew access to his private records from biographer Jonathan Bate after Bate uncovered new material about Hughes’s affairs. Read more at The Guardian and The Daily Mail.

Awards

Book Releases

  • Byssus, the third collection from Shetland-based Jen Hadfield (rated 4.8/5 based on 5 ratings at GoodReads). Read a review at New Statesman.

All ratings are from GoodReads as at 10/04/2014.

Poetry News Digest: February 2014

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All the headlines from February.

News

  • The folk musician and cellist Leyla McCalla released her debut album Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes in which she sets Langston Hughes’s poetry to music. Read more at Boston Globe, NPR and Mother Jones. Here is one of the tracks:

  • A poetry app was released on Valentine’s Day which featured names such as Helena Bonham Carter, Emma Watson and Tom Hiddleston reading romantic poems from Allie Esiri’s anthology The Love Book. Read more at The Telegraph, CBR and Chicago Sun-Times.
  • The actress Kristen Stewart revealed she has been writing poetry for years and published a poem in Marie Clare which she described as “embarassing.” Read more including the poem itself at The Independent, PopWatch and The Daily Mail.
  • It was announced that a collection of poetry by Iain Banks, the novelist who died in June last year from cancer, will be published in 2015. Banks spoke about wanting to publish poetry in his final interview. Read more at BBC NewsThe Bookseller and The Star.
  • The Arab-Iranian poet Hashem Shaabani, was executed in Iran for allegedly having links with a separatist terrorist organisation. The news shocked human rights groups worldwide. Read more at The GuardianHuffington Post and Frontpage Mag.

Deaths

  • Maggie Estep, the spoken-word poet who popularised slam poetry on US television, died aged 50. Read more at The New York Times, USA Today and The LA Times. Watch her performing ‘Emotional Idiot’ here:

  • Michael Baldwin, the poet and novelist who had a passion for teaching others, died aged 83. Read more at The Guardian.

Awards

  • Eduardo Lizalde won the Federico Garcia Lorca Poetry Award in recognition of his lifetime body of work. Read more at Global Post and Latin American Herald Tribune. Here is Lizalde reading his poem ‘El tigre en celo’:

Book Releases

  • The Outnumbered Poet, a posthumous collection of critical and autobiographical essays by Dennis O’Driscoll (not yet rated on GoodReads). Read a review at The Guardian.

All ratings are from GoodReads as at 26/02/2014.

Poems I Like (7)

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A few more poems that I have enjoyed recently. I hope you find something here you like too.

Just click on the title to read a poem in full. Let me know what you enjoyed by adding a comment.

‘Lines from the Creek’ by Elinor Brooks

A parent watches their child fishing and reflects on how he’s grown up. “I remember how it felt / to cradle your baby skull.” Beautifully done.

‘February’ by Boris Pasternak trans. Sasha Dugdale and ‘Engram’ by Ahrem Warner

“Get out the ink and weep!” Two enjoyable poems about inspiration which affectionately poke fun at poets.

‘All That Time’ by May Swenson

Simply a poem about two trees that have come to lean on each other.

‘Swallows’ and ‘Recovery Room, Maternity Ward’ by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

Two incredibly sad poems about the aftermath of a stillbirth. “Someday, within these walls, / I will hear my baby cry.”

‘Their Lonely Better’ by W.H. Auden

A great poem from an old master. “Words are for those with promises to keep.”

‘The Conductor’ by Jacqueline Berger

About a conductor of an orchestra who suffers from Parkinson’s. Moving.

To see other posts about poems I like, click here.

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