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Here is your regular round up of the last month’s news in poetry, lovingly stitched into a glorious tapestry of, erm, well, poetry news…

Seamus Heaney, the Nobel Laureate and celebrated Irish poet, has died aged 74.

Sad news this month as one of the giants of today’s poetry world has passed away.

Seamus Heaney was often described as the greatest Irish poet since Yeats or, as Blake Morrison put it in The Guardian, perhaps “Yeats was the greatest Irish poet till Heaney.”

Seamus Heaney in 1970 [Source: Flickr Creative Commons © SiGarb]

Seamus Heaney in 1970
[Source: Flickr Creative Commons © SiGarb]

At his funeral, his son Michael revealed that Heaney sent a text message to his wife minutes before he passed away that read “noli timere” (Latin for “don’t be afraid”).

Heaney was laid to rest in the same Derry soil that inspired his most famous poem, ‘Digging.’

The “Bachelorette” has released a poetry book.

The biggest story in US poetry in August (measured purely by the amount of coverage it got from the media) was the news that Desiree Hartsock and Chris Siegfried, the stars of the TV programme “The Bachelorette” 2013, have released a book of poetry together.

The book is called Diamonds and Hearts. The description on Amazon says that in it Desiree “expresses her feelings for Chris in a way no one has ever seen before!”

The standard of submissions to the National Eisteddfod “Chairing of the Bard” poetry prize was so poor that the judges withheld the award.

The “Chairing of the Bard” is a highlight of the Welsh cultural festival, the National Eisteddfod. However, on this occasion, the Eisteddfod released a statement saying:

“The disappointment this year is that the entries – for whatever reason – have been sent without adequate care being taken to iron out the last few glitches.”

As a result, they decided not to award the chair to any of this year’s 12 entrants. As shocking as this may sound, it’s actually not that unusual. It’s the 15th time in the history of the competition (since 1880) that there has been no winner of the chair.

Mererid Hopwood, the first female winner of the Chair, in 2001 [Source: Flickr Creative Commons © SiGarb]]

Mererid Hopwood, the first female winner of the Chair, in 2001
[Source: Flickr Creative Commons © Polo]

An Azerbaijani oil fund has published several pages of poetry in its annual report.

You might expect a corporate report to be the last place to find poetry, but that hasn’t put off the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan.

The fund has been using its annual report to raise the profile of Azerbaijani poets since 2010, and it continued the practice this month with the release of its 2012 report. You can read the report itself here.

Patti Smith has revealed her passion for the poems of Robert Louis Stevenson.

At the Edinburgh International Festival, Patti Smith said: “I can’t imagine my childhood without him. His poems were my companions, my friends.”

Smith spoke of how Stevenson‘s poems helped her through her childhood illnesses.

Patti Smith in Concert [Source: Flickr Creative Commons © Man Alive!]

Patti Smith in Concert
[Source: Flickr Creative Commons © Man Alive!]

A performance of a poem called ‘Dear Straight People’ has taken the internet by storm.

Denice Frohman won the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam in March this year with her performance of ‘Dear Straight People,’ a poem which captures the swirl of emotions many members of the LGBT community have felt in public.

Her emotional performance has now gone viral on the internet after a video of it was recently posted online.

Book Releases

Finally, here is a small selection of the poetry books published during the month of August.