It’s a great haul for poetry in the news again, there are so many good stories I was a little spoilt for choice, so here’s just a handful of them.
This year sees the third run of Poetic Licence in Melbourne, with Outer Urban Project’s artistic director Irine Vela using the platform to show the true voices of Australia. This is a really good interview with Irine that looks at the rise of poetry and how it’s intergenerational. More, please!
Rugby Library will next week host a poetry event to mark the beginning of Refugee Week (17th June), the theme of which is ‘Different Pasts, Shared Future’.
At the Ledbury Poetry Festival, sign language is making its first appearance in the event’s 21 year history. There is an interview with Festival artistic director, Chloe Garner who talks about celebrating sign language poetry and deaf and disabled writers, and promotes the anthology Stairs & Whispers, the collection the festival has been inspired to make a special event out of, called Air Poems in the Key of Voice. Poetry will be signed in British Sign Language by Kyra Pollitt. I would really love to attend this!
I have a new poetry hero this week. 7th grader Olivia Vella‘s slam poetry for an assignment to prepare a monologue on something the class was passionate about has now received more than 200000 views online. Beautiful, honest, and informed. The student from the Queen Creek Middle School in Arizona speaks about girls being good enough, despite so many things in our society trying to tell us otherwise. Olivia, you are incredible!
Another amazing young poet that deserves acknowledgement is Vanessa Tahay. Tahay is just 18 yet is considered one of the best poets in LA, and has competed in slams in LA, San Francisco and Washington DC. Seek her work out and give her a listen; I challenge you not to be moved by what she has to say.
In 2009 Pezo Johnson started Pain on Paper/Poems over Pistols, a program that combines the skills of rapping, poetry and music for teenagers in Portland. His interview talks about the success of the program and why it’s so important to find a place for turning anger away from violence to something positive.
Here’s a really lovely interview with Mancunian poet Tony Walsh/Longfella following his recital of his poem This Is The Place at the vigil following the Manchester attack.
And finally, the Banksy of Poetry has apparently struck again with a new verse for a hairdresser in Norwich, although to me, the word strike doesn’t really seem synonymous with beautifully written words…
Enjoy your weeks!