Today’s poetry news roundup takes a look at the poet laureate of Guam who has died aged 77, the winner of the 2020 Miller Williams Poetry Prize and the poet honoured by Holyrood.
Poet Laureate of Guam Dies at 77
Frederick B. Quinene, the Poet Laureate of Guam has passed away at the age of 77.
Quinene was named as the Poet Laureate in 1986 by the then Governor, Ricardo J. Bordallo. Gov. Bordallo said at the time that Quinene was blessed to possess the gift of poetry, the ability to write sonnets that were both beautiful and lyrical. That this was a gift that should not be allowed to go unnoticed and should instead be a great source of pride to the people of Guam.
A native of Guam, Quinene was very proud of his heritage, sharing his own unique take on life, family, love and the culture and politics of the place he called home with the rest of the world. He once claimed that his thoughts naturally took place in poetic form. As a young boy, he remembered fishing and seeing the world in rhyme which he turned into poetry whilst he was still in his boat.
Quinene once went to U.S. Congress with his poetry. There, he read aloud from the poem “What Am I?” in the poem he describes the details of the colonial history of Guam and questions the representation and citizenship that they have.
The poet’s funeral will take place on 6th September. Quinene will be interred at the Merizo cemetery.
2020 Miller Williams Poetry Prize Winner Announced
Jayson Iwen, a teacher and poet from Wisconsin has been named as the winner of the 2020 Miller Williams Poetry Prize. Judy Halebsky and Angie Mazakis were named as the other finalists.
The winning books were chosen by Billy Collins, the former Poet Laureate of the US. As part of the Miller Williams Poetry Series, each one will be published by University of Arkansas Press. Iwen will also be awarded a cash prize of $5000.
The Miller Williams Prize is named for the University of Arkansas Press founding director. Williams was not only a poet of some acclaim but also a long-serving professor at the university, as a part of their creative writing program.
The Apple That Astonished Paris, Billy Collins debut collection was published by the press in 1988.
Iwen has written several books as well as co translating another on Arabic poetry. He has won a number of other awards.
All of the winning books will be made public during the San Antonio meeting of the Association of Writers and Writer’s Programs, which will take place from 4th to 7th March 2020.
Hamish Henderson Honoured by Holyrood
The Scottish Parliament has honoured Hamish Henderson – the Scottish folk legend. MSP’s have lauded the legacy left by the great poet, who was also a songwriter, in the run-up to the centenary of his birth, which will be celebrated in November.
Henderson is considered to have been one of the most important figures involved in the 1950’s folk revival.