#NationalPoetryDay, 2013, 22 Reasons for the Bedroom Tax, Adam Zeman, Allen Ginsberg, badger, badger cull, book, brain, British, Carol Ann Duffy, cortex, Daniel Radcliffe, Drysalter, Dylan Thomas, Environment Secretary, Fern Hill, film, For the Greek Spring, Forward Prize, Gregory Orr, interview, Kelvin Corcoran, Kill Your Darlings, Michael Symmons Roberst, National Poetry Day, neurology, news, October, Poet Laureate, poetry, politics, Prince Charles, Prince George, prose, reading, review, River Inside the River, satire, science, social media, temporal lobes, The Cordland Review, The Guardian, twitter, University of Exeter, video, water
One twelfth of a year’s worth of poetry news, no more, no less.
So it’s true! Finally there is hard evidence that poetry really is, scientifically speaking, completely different to (better than) prose.
How so? Well, according to a University of Exeter study by Professor Adam Zeman, reading poetry activates the posterior cingulated cortex – a part of the brain associated with introspection – and the medial temporal lobes, which are used for memory storage. Poetry lights up your brain!
And the effect is the same regardless of what poem you read. We know this for a fact because Zeman gave his subjects both “easy and difficult sonnets.”
The headline says it all really. In a recent interview about his portrayal of the poet Allen Ginsberg in the film Kill Your Darlings, Radcliffe said, and I quote:
“I don’t understand it as well as [Ginsberg], but I do understand poetry.”
Anyhow, the film is supposed to be ok. It’s out in the UK soon.The UK poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem in response to the badger cull.
She wasn’t around earlier this year to do typical poet laureate tasks like celebrating the birth of Prince George in verse (she was on holiday), but now Carol Ann Duffy has found an even better reason to put pen to paper – to satirise the government’s response to the failure of the recent badger cull.
The Environment Secretary infamously blamed the badgers themselves for the failed cull, saying “the badgers moved the goalposts.”Carol Ann Duffy used this quote as the basis for a 22 line poem about the coalition’s politics, called ’22 Reasons for the Bedroom Tax.’ She emailed the poem to The Guardian who promptly published it. Here’s an excerpt:
“Because the Badgers are moving the goalposts.
The Ferrets are bending the rules.
The Weasels are taking the hindmost.
The Otters are downing tools.”
October 3 was that day of the year where poetry gets a teeny weeny bit more media coverage here in the UK. The theme of the day was “water, water everywhere.”
A highlight this year was Prince Charles reciting Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas, which you can listen to here.
It was also a year in which the occasion was picked up quite a bit in social media, especially on Twitter where you can still catch up on users’ own poems and even videos using #NationalPoetryDay, such as this one.
- The Forward Prize for Poetry 2013 was won by Michael Symmons Roberts for Drysalter, a book of 150 poems, each just 15 lines long.
October Book Releases
And finally, a small selection from the poetry books published during October:
- For the Greek Spring by Kelvin Corcoran. The Guardian says Corcoran “is a superbly skilled lyricist” who writes poetry in which “classical mythology meets modern ideals.”
- River Inside the River by Gregory Orr. The Cortland Review warns that “poems that are this charged with the cadences of mystical contemplation may not be everyone’s cup of tea.”