Today on My Poetic Side, we look at the “Windiest Storm Ever” and its poetic inspiration, as well as the re-appointment of a Laureate and the winner of the Cervantes Prize.
Storm that Inspired Poetry Confirmed as Windiest ever in UK
Scientists have been looking at the data from the 1903 storm, which was named Ulysses, and have determined that it is the windiest ever witnessed in the British Isles. By digitising the paper-based readings taken at the time, they have reanalysed them using modern methods. Many of the places damaged by the winds were in excess of 100mph (45m/s or 87 knots). They left a trail of uprooted trees, flooding, shipwrecks, smashed infrastructure and death.
Storm Ulysses got its name because it was the inspiration for a passage in the novel Ulysses by the writer and poet James Joyce.
The study was a time-consuming one that required an army of volunteers. They converted all of the handwritten records from 1903, putting them into spreadsheets that were fed into a supercomputer which then analysed them fully using modern techniques. This reanalysis of the data was reported in the Natural Hazards and Earth Systems Sciences journal.
US Poet Laureate Appointed for Second Term
Ada Limon, the award-winning Latina author who has been serving as the current U S poet laureate, has been appointed to a second term, in what is a first since the position was created.
Limon is the 24th poet laureate. During her first term, she has done a significant amount of work to promote poetry to a brand-new audience. She has also laid the foundation for a range of different outreach projects. She took up the position last September, and on 1st June, she is due to unveil a poem that is to be engraved on the NASA Spacecraft that will be travelling 1.8 billion miles in order to explore Europa. Europa is one of the moons of Jupiter and a part of the Europa Clipper mission.
The Library of Congress is expected to confirm in August the details of Limon’s second-term signature project. It is believed that this will be a partnership between the Poetry Society of America and the National Park Service which will present poems in a number of national parks in order to expose more groups to poetry.
Limon made history when she was appointed to the post of US Poet Laureate. She is the first female poet laureate of Mexican American and Latino heritage. She has written six books of poetry, including the 2018 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry and also one of the finalist works in the National Book Awards. Her most recent book was published in May last year.
2022 Cervantes Prize Winner Announced
The 93-year-old Venezuelan poet Rafael Cadenas has been named the 2022 winner of the Cervantes Prize, the highest recognition for a work of Spanish literature.
Cadenas travelled to Spain to collect the award in person from King Felipe VI, and during the traditional acceptance speech, he called for an urgent reform for democracy and also quoted George Orwell, whose work he is a great admirer of.