Goethe Medal Winners/RNC Denied Hallelujah Permission – Poetry News Roundup August 31st

We begin the week here on My Poetic Side with an article about the winners of this year’s Goethe Medal. We also look at the unauthorised use of Hallelujah at the RNC.

2020 Goethe Medal

The winners for this year’s Goethe Medal have been announced. The prize recognised the fields of arts, culture and science and people who are committed to promoting their fields on an international platform.

The Goethe Medal has been an official decoration linked to the Federal Republic of Germany since 1975. It is an annual award presented by the Goethe-Institut and is traditionally presented on 28th August, the day that the statesman, writer and poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born on in 1749.

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards ceremony will be taking place on a digital platform rather than in person.

The essayist, poet and musician Elvira Espejo Ayca, who was born in 1981 in Bolivia has been awarded the prize this year for the creative approach that it was felt she took to the mediation work that she undertook between Latin America and Europe. She was until recently the director of the National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore which is in La Paz. When she was dismissed from the post in June there was an international outcry.

The other winners were Ian McEwan, the British novelist, and Zukiswa Wanner, the journalist and publisher who was born in Zambia.

The award was first given out in 1955 and since then a total of 354 people from 67 countries have been named as winners.

RNC Denied Permission to use “Hallelujah”

A representative for the estate of the late poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen has confirmed that the estate may be considering legal action against the Republican Party following their use of the song “Hallelujah” at their national convention. The song was used without permission. In fact, they had actually asked if they could use it but were told that they did not have the blessing of the rights holders.

A lawyer speaking on behalf of the estate confirmed

and the continued to state that they were looking at the legal options available to the estate.

Sony / TV Music publishing, the publishing company associated with Cohen, also confirmed that they had declined permission for the RNC to use the song as well. However, 2 covers were used during the event. Following the televised conference on Thursday last week, fans of the songwriter took to social media to express their anger.

Trump is no stranger to legal issues over the unauthorised use of certain music during his political events. Earlier this month the President’s campaign was sued by Neil Young and both Tom Petty and the Rolling Stones have also filed a cease and desist order for the same reason.

The estate however mentioned that whilst permission to use “Hallelujah” was never on the cards they may have been happy to allow RNC to use “You Want it Darker”,  another of Cohen’s songs.



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