actor, Aime Cesare, album, An Appointment with Mr Yeats, Auden, Australian, award, Azerbaijani, Bashar al-Assad, BBC, Bedouin, Bombardment of Homs, book, Brand New Ancients, Cecil Day-Lewis, censorship, chicken, Christopher Pollnitz, Clive James, Clothes that Escaped the Great War, comic, competition, contest, Daily Times, death, DH Lawrence, Ehsan Sehgal, Emilie Blachere, English, fast food, First World War, food safety, French, Glastonbury, Greek, illness, John Ashbery, Kate Tempest, KFC, love, Love Letter from Emilie Blachere to Remi Ochlik, Marie Ponsot, Million's Poetry, music, Nabati, National Poetry Competition, New York, news, Pablo Neruda, Paddy O'Connell, Pakistani, Patricia McCarthy, performance poetry, Peruvian, photography, poetry, politics, Quick Question, radio, Radio 4, Raghda, Remi Ochlik, rhyme, rhyming, Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, Scottish, Siegfried Sassoon, social media, Suhail Al Mazroue, Syrian, Ted Hughes Poetry Prize, terminal illness, The Guardian, The Poems, The Waterboys, TV, twitter, UAE, UNESCO, Urdu, war, Wilfred Owen, World Poetry Day, X Factor, Yeats, Zarb-e-Sukhan
All your essential poetry news from the month of March, delivered straight to your door with no extra charge for postage and packing.
Poetry and War
There’s always been a close relationship between war and poetry, as successive people have sought to make some sort of sense of evil and death.
This was brought home to us again this month by the astonishing ‘Love Letter from Emilie Blachère to Rémi Ochlik,’ a love poem written by the girlfriend of Rémi Ochlik, the French photographer who was killed a year ago during the bombardment of Homs in Syria.The BBC presenter Paddy O’Connell was left choked with tears as Emilie’s poem was read out during his Radio 4 programme and he left the airwaves silent for 12 seconds before regaining his composure.
Poetry and Illness
Rhyming can be Fun
Another Cecil Day-Lewis poem was discovered this month. Well, I say ‘poem,’ it is more a sample of quirky rhymes produced to help a pupil and is in fact a response to a similar effort from WH Auden. The second stanza reads: “To ignite / Sticks of dynamite / Is not the chief delight / of Norman Wright / Which is proved by the fact that he is still in sight”.
Also this month, an album by the Scottish group Waterboys was released called An Appointment with Mr Yeats,’ in which they have set Yeats‘s poetry to music in 14 songs. (This is the US release. The album came out in the UK in 2011.)Poets in High Places
Suhail Al Mazroue has become the UAE’s new Energy Minister. Among other things, Suhail is known for having a passion for Nabati poetry, an art form with Bedouin roots. In 2006, he even took part in Million’s Poetry, an X Factor-like TV contest for Arab poets. Lines of poetry still dominate his Twitter feed.
That’s right – chicken poetry. The fast food chain KFC launched a contest on social media asking fans to pen a poem which included the line “the chickens are innocent.” The initiative is part of a media campaign designed to be a riposte to food safety criticisms of the chain.World Poetry Day
On 21 March (which happens to be my birthday!), UNESCO celebrated World Poetry Day, focusing on the poetry of William Butler Yeats, Pablo Neruda and Aimé Césaire and also some lesser-known authors from Azerbaijan and Greece.
- Kate Tempestwon the Ted Hughes Poetry Prize for her hour-long ‘spoken story,’ Brand New Ancients. Kate is a well-known poet who has performed at Glastonbury.
- Patricia McCarthy won the UK’s National Poetry Competition with a First World War poem inspired by her mother’s stories, ‘Clothes that Escaped the Great War.’ The poem has drawn comparisons with Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.
- Marie Ponsot won the lucrative Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. She pocketed $100,000 in recognition of a lifetime’s achievement in poetry.
Notable book releases in the month of March included:
- The Poems by DH Lawrence, a new uncensored edition of his poems that the editor, Christopher Pollnitz, claims “reveals him as a brilliant war poet.”
- Zarb-e-Sukhan by Ehsan Sehgal, a collection of Urdu poems that was written over a span of 42 years. The Daily Times describes it as a “splendid poetry collection.”
- Quick Question by John Ashbery, a collection comic poems about urban New York scenes. The Guardian says there’s a “renewed vigour to this latest offering from one of America’s most accomplished poets.”