Poetry news from the month of November, freshly squeezed for your delight and delectation.
We start off with the 2012 US Presidential election which of course took place in November. What better opportunity for the Academy of American Poets to publish a selection of “poems of American experience” to help inject the patriotic spirit into the occasion…
Jonny Depp has being wooing Amber Heard with handwritten daily love poems, apparently. Thankfully I don’t have any examples to share.
In the UK, the Education Secretary Michael Gove caused a stir by defending “French lesbian poetry” as a topic of study for university students, which had been criticised by the engineer James Dyson.
The new James Bond movie Skyfall featured the final lines from the Tennyson poem, ‘Ulysses.’ What better excuse to read the whole poem!
A staged version of Coleridge‘s Rime of the Ancient Mariner is making its way to London.
The American conservative media has been working itself up into a frenzy over the news that a six-year old girl was forced by her school to remove the word ‘God’ from a poem she was to deliver on Veterans’ Day.
It wasn’t a good month for poetry in China. An activist, Zhu Yufu, was put on trial accused of “inciting subversion of state power,” because of a poem called ‘It’s Time,’ which he circulated on the internet. The poem declares “It’s time, Chinese people!/ The square belongs to everyone/the feet are yours/it’s time to use your feet and take to the square to make a choice.” Another Chinese dissident poet, Li Bifeng, was jailed for 12 years for contract fraud.
Things didn’t look much better in Qatar, where the poet Mohammed al-Ajami, a supporter of the Arab Spring Uprisings, has been jailed for life.
We bade goodbye this month to the French poet and art critic Jacques Dupin, the teacher and Welsh poet Anne Evans, the great Canadian modernist poet Raymond Souster, the widow of TS Eliot and long time guardian of his poetic legacy, Valerie Eliot, the poet and gay activist William Brandon Lacy Campos, and the great but independently-minded American poet Jack Gilbert.
Here are some of new poetry books that were published in November. L’Arrière-pays by Yves Bonnefoy (translated by Stephen Romer), is a fusion of autobiography, art essay and poem. The publication of Louise Glück‘s Poems: 1962-2012 is an important American literary event. The Overhaul by Kathleen Jamie uses the figurative to understand the modern world. Ko Un‘s First Person Sorrowful introduces this Korean’s highly personal brand of poetry to a British audience for the first time. Ninjas by Jane Yeh is unsettling but funny. Andrew Motion tackles war in The Customs House.