Poetry and politics / Beyond the Water’s Edge / Griffin Poetry Prize – Poetry News Roundup – 3rd July 2017

Poetry is all around us, and although you might not be aware, there is plenty in the news each day that relates to poetry. Today marks our first news roundup of the major news stories about poetry across the globe.

Poetry and politics

An unlikely stage, a diverse audience and a very inspiring speaker; this week poetry featured at the Glastonbury music festival, when the Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn gave a very well received speech that was for the most part greeted with enthusiastic cheering. This isn’t the first time Corbyn has used poetry to great effect as part of one of his speeches; during his closing speech of the recent general election, in his Islington constituency, he also used poetry as part of his speech. Both times Mr Corbyn has taken inspiration from Percy Bysshe Shelley, the 19th century British poet.

Having survived for many years poetry is a fantastic source of knowledge, human emotion, wisdom and song; it is no wonder that a more traditional politician; one who is rooted in the idea that speaking the truth whilst seeking power is the way forward, would turn to poetry to assist when it comes to speeches that move people. Much of Shelley’s poetry was dedicated to the cause of freedom; he created a powerful picture of a people bombarded by apathy whilst at the same time just a few politicians created a world that was unbearable for the many.

Beyond the Water’s Edge

The Bromsgrove Artrix will be hosting a new theatre performance on 10th July; this promises to bring poetry to the stage and is the latest poetry-in-performance event to be hosted by Midland Creative Projects. The event will see poetry from dozens of countries, drawn from every continent being performed. These contemporary poems, many of which have never before been heard of, or performed in the UK, and have in some cases experienced censorship in the country they were written in will be given a new lease of life and meaning at the hands of the cast of three actors. The performance will also be accompanied by live music to help illustrate the human emotions represented in the poetry.

The performance will include the works of the well-known poets Tomas Tranströmer, the Swedish poet and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2011, and German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht.

Griffin Poetry Prize

Congratulations to Jordan Abel, the Vancouver poet, who lives in Castlegar B.C. was recently awarded the $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize. The lucrative literary award which was given to this Canadian recipient for his work “Injun” (published by Talonbooks); a long poem on the subject of racism and the representation of the indigenous people, was seen by the poet as a victory for any individual who has battled against cultural appropriation.

Drawing on a source material from a staggering 91 western novels, all of which can be found in the public domain, and spanning the period from the 17th to 20th century in order to create the poem, Abel said that he was in a state of disbelief to have won the award.

Be sure to come back tomorrow in order to keep up with all the latest poetry news.


  • Stephen.Sapaugh

    How exciting that poetry is living and active in all of these places. I'm glad that Shelly is still being quoted even though he is long dead.

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