Poetry in the News

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Hello 😊

Here’s your poetry in the news for this week.

Matthew Zapruder has a new book coming out entitled Why Poetry, which speculates on the teaching – and learning – of poetry, and how we might have got it wrong. As someone who has always huffed suspiciously at the idea of there only ever being one true, definitive interpretation of a poem – usually decided by scholarly folk who often overlook things they don’t want to see in a poem in favour of the things they do – this book sounds like a little cheer of comraderie. Let people find whatever ‘hidden meanings’ they find in the words of a poem! Read the article here

More of this please! In New Delhi poets Sabika Abbas Naqvi and Shrenik Mutha perform Poetry at the Metro; covering subjects such as gender, feminism, facism and right-wing politics.

I have to admit, this next article was an education for me, exposed me for the ignorant thing I am. I discovered slam/spoken word poetry what has to be two, or three years ago now, and whilst it’s not something I could do myself (though I’d love to, just, people+stage=nightmare for me), I have grown to love seeing it perform. And until reading this article I had never considered that slam poetry could be performed by ASL artists. What. An. Idiot. I’m off to educate myself more because this article about ASL Slam has really opened my eyes, have a read and see if it does the same for you!

After the terror attack in Finsbury Park this week, poet and mental health spokesperson Hussain Manawer talks about the need for promoting harmony and love in the wake of these horrid attacks. It’s a really good article, please give it a read.

And finally, this is a beautiful article by Cyrus Shahrad talking about his father reciting poetry, and how important poetry is in Iranian culture. I can’t justify how good it is, go and give it a read for yourself.

I hope you’re all having good weeks!

x

Poem of the week: On His Blindness, John Milton

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When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?
I fondly ask; but Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts, who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best, his state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

On His Blindness

Favourite Poets: Edgar Allen Poe, Romance

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Romance, who loves to nod and sing,
With drowsy head and folded wing,
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake,
To me a painted paroquet
Hath been—a most familiar bird—
Taught me my alphabet to say—
To lisp my very earliest word
While in the wild wood I did lie,
A child—with a most knowing eye.
Of late, eternal Condor years
So shake the very Heaven on high
With tumult as they thunder by,
I have no time for idle cares
Through gazing on the unquiet sky.
And when an hour with calmer wings
Its down upon my spirit flings—
That little time with lyre and rhyme
To while away—forbidden things!
My heart would feel to be a crime
Unless it trembled with the strings.
I haven’t read this one in so long I’d actualy forgotten it; crime! I’m terrible at remembering the names of poems so I suppose I can forgive myself a little… this poem is fairly short, compacts so much into its relatively few lines, and that bird theme throughout it just carries you through it. Love, love and love 🙂

🏳️‍🌈Pride Poetry🏳️‍🌈

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Hello!

Ran out of reading material? Then look no further! Here’s a couple of links to lists of poetry put together to celebrate pride month. I’ve not read every one on the lists myself yet but I hope it’s a good start; these two sites are my go-to for poetry usually, so, I expect good things. Enjoy x

Poetry Foundation

Academy of American Poets

🏳️‍🌈Spoken Word Poetry for Pride Month🏳️‍🌈

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Hello 🙂

Here’s a (very) small selection of some beautiful, talented, amazing slam poems. These were supposed to be posted throughout the month but I messed up my queues… enjoy xx


(Michael Monroe: Bisexual Breakfast)


(Laura Banka: Bisexual)


(Natalie Zakon: B is for Bisexual)


(Abbie Wells: I’m A Myth)


(Spencer: A Poem on Being Asexual)


(Thomas Hill: Pray the Gay Away)


(Keith Jarrett: A Gay Poem)


(Elliot Darrow: God Is Gay)


(Joanna Hoffman: Pride)


(Wyatt Fleckenstein: Labels)


(A W: Witch Hunt)


(Ethan Smith: A Letter to the Girl I Used to Be)


(Ollie Schminkey & Wyatt Fleckenstein: Small Towns)


(Rhiannon McGavin: Art Class)


(Denice Frohman: Dear Straight People)


(Zev Verdoner: Dear Rosie)


(Andrea Gibson: I Do)

Poetry in the News

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Hello 😊

Here’s your poetry in the news for today, I hope it’s a good one for you!

A great interview with US poetry laureate Tracy K Smith.

Here‘s some really beautiful poems from Steve Straight (love Vincent!).

This is beautiful. The House of Iraqi Poetry, directed by Hosam al-Sarray, is a cultural organisation that is reaching out to young Iraqis and reclaiming the streets with poetry. Beautiful, beautiful, give it a read.

Thom Young’s experiment with ‘pop poetry’ in Instragram has attracted some attention, and in this interview he talks about the need for poetry for the younger generation.

When I first read the headline for this, I laughed a little, thinking it sounded a little ridiculous. A student demanding that her grade be changed to an A and taking them to court to get that done sounds pretty ludicruous, but reading this piece over a couple of times and I’m not sure what I think. Scratch that, I do, I feel a bit like this person makes a mockery of poetry and is stamping their feet because they haven’t got their own way. Poetry is supposed to be all-embracing, liberating, a place to get out those thoughts in your head and let you breathe. By exposing yourself to poetry you don’t necessarily agree with the principles of, well. We can all learn by stepping outside of our comfort zone, can’t we? Poetry is a safe place to do that. And to anyone that would argue that there is a lot of LGBT ‘stuff’ around us at the moment like it’s a big influx out of nowhere, uh, no? Firstly, have we not been shoving heterosexuality in peoples’ faces forever? Secondly, we have always had gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, asexual, non-binary, gender-fluid, and other people in our societies who don’t fit the heteronormative stereotypes that have been instilled on us all our lives; we’ve just ignored them, mocked them, persecuted them, or pushed them into corners so we don’t have to look. Thirdly, have you even seen poetry? Seriously, if you aren’t aware of the ‘hidden’ sexuality in our classics, can’t imagine that some of our most celebrated poets were gay, lesbian or otherwise, well. You might need to do yourself a little research and prepare for a shock (here’s a little heads up for you).

Alright, I’m dismounting my soapbox now, back to more poetry in the news.

Here’s a nice article on poetry as meditation.

Alice Oswald talks about her poetry and winning the International Griffin Poetry prize for her Falling Awake collection.

Trudy Howson dedicates a poem to Hastings Pride.

And finally, 14-year old Olivia Walsh from Manchester has written a poem in response to the attack.

Enjoy the rest of your weeks 😊