The Literary Diet – Poetry News December 28th

Today in our poetry news round-up we look at the poet heavy literary diet proposed by The Guardian newspaper for the month of January.

January’s 31-Day Literary Diet

Brits are being encouraged to consider a more positive New Year’s Resolution that year, one that will nourish their mind rather than giving them the usual goals to focus on.
As 2020 draws to an end and people hope that 2021 will bring a more positive way forward, the usual resolutions of dieting and getting healthy may just be put on a back burner in favour of an altogether different approach. The Guardian has published a list of one-a-day pieces of poetry and prose that people can follow for the month of January. The list has something for everyone and will transport the reader to places that they had always wanted to visit.
The idea behind this literary calendar is that readers will be tempted by some of the entries to delve further into the works of a particular author or poet and read more about them in order to get a better understanding of their work. Take for example the entry for 28th January which touches on the relationship that the poet Alice Oswald has with water, this could well lead to someone wanting to read Dart, her book-length, look at a river from source-to-sea.
The calendar contains a really good, and incredibly varied selection of poets and authors from all over the world and from a range of different backgrounds. Some of the entries are very short at just a couple of minutes whilst others are much longer and will need a couple of hours setting aside.
The first day of the new year will be marked with a short, 2 minute, look at the poet Maya Angelou and her totemic poem “Still I Rise”. The poem was published in 1978 but Angelou continued to perform it until she was well into her 80’s.
The entry for 2nd January takes us in a completely different direction with a look at the teen comedy “Clueless” from 1995, a complete change of pace and genre yet one that tells a very important tale along the path.
With songs from Kate Bush – The Sensual World, which was in fact taken from a soliloquy from James Joyce’s Ulysses – readings from the plays of William Shakespeare and music from Saul Williams the list has been compiled to make people take a look at the works of those they might not normally consider.
Including the entry for Maya Angelou, the list contains a staggering 12 poets not bad out of 31 entries, and this is perhaps a reflection of the fact that during the pandemic poetry has seen a significant rise in popularity. The other poets on the list are TS Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Tom Lehrer, Seamus Heaney, Jay Bernard, Alice Oswald, Louise Gluck, Roger Robinson, Robert Burns, Kae Tempest and Christina Rossetti.
The final entry on the list, the 31st January, is devoted to the idea of joining an online writing class for those people who have been inspired by the daily offerings that have helped to get them through the rest of the month.

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