We begin the week here at My Poetic Side with articles about modern war poetry, the winner of the National Book Award for Poetry and the $500,000 grant given to a University Poetry Centre.
Modern Day War Poetry to Overcome PTSD
It has long been accepted that the works of prominent war poets such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon painted a picture of the reality of lives in the trenches, now a soldier from Derbyshire is hoping that his poetry will help the modern soldier in the same way.
John Parker was a soldier with the Grenadier Guards, he enlisted whilst he was still a teenager and just before he turned 19 he was sent to Afghanistan. He completed to tours in Afghanistan before leaving the army in 2013. The violence and conflict that he saw had a serious effect on him and he left the army struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Now John spends much of his time writing poems, which are as yet untitled, which document the things he saw, the things he heard, and how they have affected him. He wants to document the battle that he and his comrades faced every day so that others might understand what the modern soldier endures whilst serving their country. John is learning to deal with his PTSD, he also has counselling, medication and the support of his family and friends. He is currently studying for a degree in psychology with the Open University.
He plans to produce a book of poems that will help people understand what life is really like for the soldier in a war zone and also help others who have served.
2017 National Book Award for Poetry – Winner Announced
Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016, by Frank Bidart, was selected as the winner of the National Book Award for poetry at the end of last week. Although Bidart has been nominated for the award on four separate occasions this is the first time that he has won.
As one of the most respected living poets in America Bidart has also been a Pulitzer prize finalist three times, and has won a number of awards during his lengthy career. In winning the award he joins the list of distinguished former winners which includes W.H. Auden, Frank O’Hara and Allen Ginsberg to name just a few.
To be eligible for nomination the author must be American and their book submitted by an American publisher. A panel of judges then look at all the entries before finally making a shortlist of just 10 entrants and then finally choosing a winner.
Poetry Centre Receives Grant
The University of Arizona Poetry Centre has been gifted a grant of $500,000 by Agnes Gund, a philanthropist and art collector. Earlier this year Gund formed the Art for Justice Fund, and the grant is to help bring the issues that surround the inequalities in the nations criminal justice system to the attention of the public.
It is hoped that the project at the University will be able to commission new poetry, help publish these works and also establish a digital archive. The fund, which was established with some of the monies Gund got from the sale of painting will go a long way towards helping to make this possible.