50p, ancient, Andrew Slattery, Australian, Benjamin Britten, book, Book of Odes, British, C J Allen, centenary, Charles Bukowski, Chinese, Christian Ward, civil war, coin, composer, David R Morgan, death, English, Ewe people, festival, Forward Prize, Ghanaian, Heather Phillipson, Instant-flex 718, John Drury, Kenyan, Kofi Awoonor, Land's End, literature, Minehead, music, Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert, Najat Abdul Samad, news, Parallax, Philip Levine, plagiarism, poet, poetry, protest, Pulitzer Prize, reading, scandal, Scilly, Scilly Today, seabeds, Seamus Heaney, Simon Armitage, Sinead Morrissey, social media, Somerset, statesman, Sylvia Plath, Syrian, Tennyson, terrorism, The Classic of Poetry, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Truthdig, United Nations, visceral, walk, Wallace Stevens Award, Westgate Mall, Xinhua
Bit late but here is last month’s haul of poetry news, painstakingly gathered and stacked into neat little piles…
A Ghanaian poet was one of the 67 people killed in the terrorist attack on Westgate Mall in Kenya.
Kofi Awoonor was a renowned poet and statesman. He was in Kenya for a literary festival at the time of his death.
Awoonor was known for his poetry inspired by the oral tradition of his Ewe people. He was also Ghana’s representative to the United Nations from 1990 to 1994.The first British coin to feature a line of poetry since the currency was decimalised was released.
A 50p coin commemorating the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten was commissioned. It was available from September 27 in special editions and will go into general circulation later.
The coin features a line of poetry, from Tennyson – “Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying” – which Britten set to music.
The coin makes Britten the first person other than the Queen to have his name printed in full on a 50 pence piece. It is also the first coin to feature a line of poetry since the British currency was decimalised.
Simon Armitage has walked from Minehead in Somerset to Land’s End on foot, paying his way by giving poetry readings.
The Yorkshire poet gave readings every night in return for bed and breakfast.
He ended his journey by travelling to the Isles of Scilly. According to Scilly Today, “Simon says the journey has been amazing and he’s been welcomed wherever he’s gone.”China announced they would be establishing a new naming convention for seabeds, based on the country’s ancient poetry.
Xinhua reported that the China Ocean Mineral Resources R & D Association (COMRA) proposed the naming system as a way to promote Chinese culture.
The names will be based on “The Classic of Poetry,” also known as the “Book of Odes,” which dates from the 11th to 7th centuries BC.
Visceral poetry with “an unexpected lyricism” has arisen in Syria out of the civil war.
Truthdig reported on Syria’s new literature, a realistic, raw movement diffused through social media and at protests.An example is these lines from Najat Abdul Samad:
“I bandage my heart with the determination of that boy
they hit with an electric stick on his only kidney until he urinated blood.
Yet he returned and walked in the next demonstration…
I bandage it with the outcry: ‘Death and not humiliation’”
Poetry plagiarism has hit the headlines yet again.
Andrew Slattery, a little known but award-winning Australian poet, has admitted to inserting lines from other poets into his own poems, including from such famous names as Sylvia Plath, Seamus Heaney and Charles Bukowski.
“Recently I have been inserting lines from other poets in my poems. It was wrong. I accept that,” he said. “I accept I will never publish another poem, let alone a debut collection, in this country.”
Also this month, the poet C J Allen withdrew from the Forward Prize after admitting to plagiarism in some of his earlier work.
The news has come on the back of the Christian Ward and David R Morgan plagiarism scandals from earlier in the year.
- Philip Levine, the Pulitzer Prize-winner, received the $100,000 Wallace Stevens Award from the American Academy of Poets for a lifetime’s achievement in poetry.
And finally, a small selection from the poetry books published during September:
- Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert by John Drury. The Telegraph says Drury’s biography is “incomparable.”
- Parallax by Sinéad Morrissey. The Guardian says this is “a deft exploration of the artificiality of art.”
- Instant-flex 718 by Heather Phillipson. The Guardian commends Phillipson’s “playful yet weighty free verse.”