Scottish Makar’s Poem/Blue Peter Poet/Tennyson Stars – Poetry News Roundup April 21st

Today in our poetry news roundup we look at the new poem by the Scottish Makar, the schoolgirl who has received a Blue Peter badge for her poetry and the stars reading Tennyson.

Jackie Kay, Scottish Makar Writes Tribute to Essential Workers

The Scottish Makar, Jackie Kay has penned a new poem as a tribute to thank those workers deemed essential for everything that they are doing during the pandemic.

The poem, titled “Essential”, is a tribute to all those involved in the food chain, those in the NHS carers, delivery workers and the many who have volunteered to help those people who are vulnerable and shielding. Kay says this is her way of thanking those keyworkers who are in the front line.

On Thursday 16th April a video of Kay reading the poem could be heard on the social media channel of the Scottish Government.

Schoolgirl Earns Blue Peter Badge for Poem

A 7-year-old schoolgirl from Cheshire has written a poem about the Coronavirus pandemic and earned herself a Blue Peter badge.

Marley Sharp was inspired by A to Z: The Best Children’s Poetry by Michael Rosen, in particular the poem laughter Rap in Plastic Town which was penned by John Agard, and wanted to write a response to it. Titled Rainbow Rap from My Town the poem is a child’s eye view of the current global situation.

The poem, which was shared on social media, has received national attention and comments from Rosen’s team (Rosen himself is still ill in hospital, The Children’s Poetry Network and Blue Peter who have awarded her one of their famous badges for her thought-provoking words.

In an interview, her mother said that Marley had always loved poetry, and as she is just 7 she may well be a name to watch out for in the future.

More Stars Reading Poetry

We recently bought you the news that a whole host of famous stars were getting together, in isolation to read all 150 verses of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, now we have more stars reading poetry. This time the poem in question is Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

A total of almost 100 famous celebrities have come together to recite lines from the poem including Idris Elba, Miriam Margolyes, Jamie Oliver, Sir David Attenborough and even the late Bruce Forsyth.

The project is the work of Matthew Stadlen a radio interviewer and radio presenter. He started work on it five and a half years ago and is now finally putting the finishing touches to it.

Stadlen admits that he had forgotten about the project but with the Coronavirus lockdown he found it when he was looking to fill in his time. He asked a few names he hadn’t been in contact with before to send him some lines so that he could edit them into the poem – both him and his mum also recited a line each.

The video is dedicated to Frances Stadlen, his mother who started the initiative Pass on a Poem which she started to get people interested in poems.



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