Library under threat with John Clare works/The Mystery Poet – Poetry News Roundup January 12th

Our final news round up of the week takes a look at a library under threat and the impact that budget cuts might have on a unique collection of work by the Northamptonshire poet John Clare. We also have an article about a mystery poet who has struck in a sleepy village in Tajikistan.

John Clare Archive Under Threat

Budget cuts to library services the Northamptonshire area have put the Northampton Central Library on Abington Street at risk. The library is home to a unique collection of literary works by the poet known as the “Northamptonshire Peasant Poet”, John Clare.

The poetry collection is pertinent to the history of the area as well as its culture and the library houses what s considered to be the greatest archive in the world of the poet’s manuscripts and books as well as housing a vast collection of ephemera and publications that are either about Clare or were written by him. For several decades the collection at the library has been used as a valuable resource by scholars and artists from all over the world.

A group of prominent writers, poets and academics have come together to appeal to the county council in an effort to help save this collection. The list of public figures behind the appeal is impressive, containing such names as Philip Pullman, Sir Jonathan Bate (the biographer of John Clare), Josie Long and Michael Rosen. Their argument is that the collection is currently curated by expert librarians with a background in looking after such works, cuts to the library will undoubtedly take it toll on staff, making it harder to maintain such a valuable research resource.  They have asked the council to confirm that the collection will remain safe despite the budget cuts.

Mystery Poetry in Sleepy Village

In the sleepy Tajikistan village of Khojaghalton a mysterious poet is causing considerable uproar. A number of mystery poems have appeared all over the village, poems that contain insults to the people who live there.

The identity of the poet is unknown, but the villagers are certain that he, or she, is one of them. The poems make note of not just names but nicknames as well, contain details of people’s daily routines and habits and even mock local businesses – details that someone from outside the village is unlikely to be aware of.

Each poem is just four stanzas long and the all end with the same sentence “I watch it and feel sorry”.

Such is the mystery, and the indignation, surrounding the poetry that one villagers has offered a reward, equal to the sum of $60, to anyone who can unmask the poet. He has insisted that it is “just out of curiosity.” The amount offered is the equivalent of almost a full month’s wages for a teacher or nurse in the village.

The villagers have even appealed to the local police to help them identify the poet who has written between 40 – 50 poems about the villagers.

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