Online abuse for poet/The Star Spangled Banner – Poetry News Roundup October 18th

Today on My Poetic Side we bring you the story of a poet who has been subjected to online abuse and also look at the origin of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Poet the Subject of Online Abuse by Students

Award- winning Indigenous poet Ellen Van Neerven, has been subjected to a barrage of online abuse following the use of her poem “Mango” in the recent HSC final exams in Australia.

The poet who won the Queensland Literary Award in 2013, had recently been shortlisted for the NSW’s Premier’s Literary Award with her second book “Comfort Food” which features the poem in question.

When they opened their paper the students were faced with a question that asked them to analyse the poem. The students later took to social media to rain their frustration on the poet. Asking what exactly the point of the poem was and claiming there was little to analyse as the poem read as though it had been written by a 4-year old. On student went as far as to create a meme which featured a monkey and the caption “leaked image of the author of ‘Mango’”, although a number of students were quick to disassociate themselves from the meme later denying it was in any way meant as a racist post and that they were unaware of the poets background.

Other authors have posted messages of support online for Ms van Neerven, and have urged the authorities to look into this “unacceptable behaviour”.  The poet was unaware that her poem had been chosen to appear on the exam papers until the online abuse started.

The Song that was a Poem.

It’s difficult not to have noticed the controversy unfolding in the United States over the question of whether sportsmen, and women, should be allowed to exercise their constitutional rights and kneel or stand for the national anthem as they so choose.

The national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, the song that is sung before every sports event was penned by Francis Scott Key and was in fact originally a poem called “In Defense of Fort McHenry”

Key was inspired to write the poem which is made up of four verses with eight lines each, when having spent the night of September 13th on a boat off the coast of Maryland, which saw a battle between British ships and American soldiers, he witnessed a gigantic American flag flying over the fort. The Star-Spangled Banner is a celebration of the American victory during the War of 1812.

The poem, now in song form, is now at the very centre of a protest, from sportsmen who want to show their patriotism and have chosen to do it by kneeling for the anthem; a suggestion which was originally made by a veteran to a player who wanted to show his respect.

Who says that poetry can’t have a huge influence in the world? This poem which is known the world over is certainly at the centre of plenty of controversy which is dividing the country.

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