Oppenheimer Poetry Link/ Gingko Prize/ Burns’ Holiday Cottage – Poetry News Roundup 26th July

Today in our poetry news round up we look at the poetry links to the Oppenheimer film, the winner of the 2023 Gingko AONB Prize and the Robert Burns Holiday cottage.

The Influence of Poetry on Oppenheimer

With the opening of the film Oppenheimer this last weekend, a film which looks at the man who played a leading role in the development of the atom bomb and how it changed the course of World War II, you might wonder how this links with poetry.

Oppenheimer was theoretical physicist who developed a love for the Sanskrit language whilst working as junior professor. He loved being a student himself and threw himself into his studies before he was introduced the Bhagavad Gita, 2000 years old and a part of the Mahabharata, which at 700 verses is the longest poem in the world.

In the film, Oppenheimer is shown reading some of the poem before the event that was to change the history of the world took place. Whilst his knowledge of both the language and the Gita are clearly a part of his story there are some right wing Hindus who gave complained about its inclusion in the film. These complaints in part are to do with their close inclusion to a sex scene between the physicist and his lover.

However, the film was passed for showing in India by the censors in the country and the film has been declared the Hollywood hit of the year for India, achieving significantly better box office numbers that Barbie when they both opened on Friday.

Oppenheimer was a very well read man who had a love of history, French Literature and even considered becoming an architect, a poet or a classicist. He wrote his own poetry which was inspired by the themes of loneliness and sadness, and he particularly identified with the works of T.S. Eliot. He was also quoted as saying that Les Fleurs du Mal by Baudelaire had had a significant influence on the philosophical outlook that he had on life.

Winner of 2023 Ginkgo AONB Prize Announced

A Lancaster man has been announced as the winner of the international Gingko AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) Prize for an Outstanding Poem of the British Landscape 2023. The prize is a major ecopoetry one.

David Canning has won the prize for his poem about the Forest of Bowland and its sheep. Canning is a local to the area and the poem reflects how he feels about its natural beauty and its sheep, particularly when he isn’t there. The prize is organised by The Poetry School and funded by the Edward Goldsmith Foundation.

Auld Lang Syne Holiday Cottage Opens

The farm where the poet Robert Burns wrote Auld Lang Syne will be opening as a holiday let for the first time. A cottage named The Auld Acquaintance cottage which stands in the grounds of Ellisland Farm is to be let out to members of the public who wish to holiday there. All of the profits from the cottage rental will be put into the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust. They are a charity group, whose main work focuses on saving the farmstead, which is a Grade A listed property.

The cottage has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment programme at a cost of £230,000.

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