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We’re at the halfway point of 2013.  Here’s your regular poetry news round up. My pleasure.

A Poem for Madiba

As South Africans come to term with Nelson Mandela‘s recent deterioration in health, a Pretoria priest, Father Victor Phalana, has put his love and sense of loss for Mandela into a poem.

Mandela has been in the Mediclinic Heart Hospital for four weeks now and remains in a “critical but stable” condition. Here is an extract from Father Victor’s poem, which you can also read in full here:

“We are busy with your last paragraph and your last chapter

We have started to mourn and grieve as you melt away

We are anxious and worried; we are paying our respects,

We say Goodbye.”

Nelson Mandela Photomosaic [Source: Flickr Creative Commons © MastaBaba]
– Nelson Mandela Photomosaic
[Source: Flickr Creative Commons © MastaBaba]

Poets ARE Fighters

A Israeli soldier was banned from reading his poetry out on the radio because officers said it would “ruin the image of the combat soldier.” Cue much media outrage.

As The Independent pointed out, “Can anyone really say that John McCrae was a wuss when he wrote ‘In Flanders Fields’ and before dying of pneumonia on a French battlefield in 1918?”

An Unfortunate Poem…

Vladimir Putin appointed a new Economy Minister, Alexei Ulyukayev – who it was recently revealed wrote a poem two years ago urging Russians to leave the country and seek freedom. The poems begins: “Get out, my son, get out of here.”

Natasha still going strong

The US poet laureate, Natasha Trethewey, has been reappointed for a second one-year term. According to mail.com, in her second term she will collaborate with PBS senior correspondent Jeffrey Brown and the NewsHour series of reports about poetry and society from around the country.

US Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey [Source: Flickr Creative Commons © WTPfefferle]

US Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey
[Source: Flickr Creative Commons © WTPfefferle]

A Trip to Canada

The 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize in Canada was won by David McFadden and Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan. However, before the ceremony, Zaqtan had initially been the subject of refusal for a visa when Canadian authorities said the reason for his visit was “unconvincing.”

This unleashed a social media storm, with the likes of the novelist Margaret Atwood weighing in with their support. Happily, within 72 hours the visa was granted.

Book Releases

Here are a couple of highlights from the poetry books published during June.