Christmas Cards/UNESCO – Poetry News Roundup December 11th

We begin another week here on My Poetic Side with a news article about a collection of Christmas cards from Robert Frost that have gone on display for the first time in over a century. We also look at the UAE poetry form that has been offered UNESCO safeguarding status.

The Christmas Cards of Robert Frost

A selection of Christmas cards sent by Robert Frost, together with several booklets will be going on display for the first time in over half a century. The display, which will be at Vermont’s Middlebury College features a selection of the poet’s early drafts and works that first appeared in Christmas cards sent by the poet.

Robert Frost is perhaps best known for the gritty images that he painted with his poetry of New England rural life.

The first card contained the words to “Christmas Trees” and was sent in 1929 without the permission of the poet. Over the years that followed Frost worked with Joe Blumenthal, a New York Printer, to produce other cards, not all of which contained Christmas poems. Each year the poem for the cards was unique and Frost sent them to his closest friends. But it wasn’t just the poem on the inside that was important to the poet, he was also very interested in the images that were chosen for the outsides of the cards. He favoured images that packed a visual punch, especially New England scenes as woodcuts.

From the first cards produced in 1929, to 1962 shortly before Frost’s death Blumenthal and Frost teamed up each year to collaborate in the production of both Christmas cards and booklets. In 1961 the cards formed part of a collection that was donate to the college, just two years before Frost died.

UNESCO Status offered to UAE Poetry

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage recently had their 12th meeting which took place in South Korea on Jeju Island. During the meeting it was decided that Al-Azi, the traditional UAE poetry form should be given protected status by the Committee that deals with united Nations heritage preservation as it is an important art form in helping to build national identity.

Al-Azi, often used old sayings and proverbs to create full-rhymed poems based on the more traditional Emirati prose, it is a reflection of both the culture of the UAE and also the Emirati society. It is a style of poetry that relies on the repetition of the poems without any music or rhythmic instruments, and involves a key “singer” and a group of supporting reciters who respond to his questions. Even the way they stand is symbolic, with the singer at the front and the reciters standing in a line behind him as a sign of unity.

The Neapolitan pizza baking tradition involving songs and stories and German Organ music were amongst the other nominations this year to be added to the list which is 360 strong and includes Indian Yoga and the European Mediterranean diet.

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