Army Poetry Students/Google Doodle/Papal Poetry Address – Poetry News Roundup April 3rd

Today’s poetry news roundup has articles on the army recruits who are studying poetry, the Google Doodle dedicated to a Filipino poet and the Papal preacher who quoted T.S Eliot in his Good Friday address.

The Army Poetry Readings

It would seem that poetry can be found pretty much anywhere nowadays but is perhaps a little surprising to discover that the army is asking its recruits to read poetry.

At the Pirbright barracks in Surrey, a group of 14 recruits ranging in age from 18 – 33 have been learning about poetry. These are recruits who are destined to join the logistics corps, the artillery, the engineers and so on rather than the infantry come from a variety of backgrounds and a number of them have studied at university or pursued a different career path before deciding to join the army.

This is not, of course, a typical course for army recruits, the majority of the 14 “students” are in the poetry class because they are recuperating from injuries that they have received during their training.

They are studying the poetry equivalent of a mash-up, a cento; a poem made up from lines of other poems. The subject matter for the class, of course, includes works by a number of poets from the Great War; Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke, as well as some other, very well known British poets, Phillip Larkin, William Blake and Benjamin Zephaniah.

The aim of the class is to help the recruits get out of their comfort zone and experience something completely different that they probably wouldn’t have done if the army had not sent them to the classes. Learning new skills and ways of looking at things that will give them useful skills to take with them to their chosen area.

Google Doodle Dedicated to Philippines Poet

On Easter Monday, 1st April, Google Doodle commemorated the life and legacy of one of the literary giants of the Philippines, Francisco “Balagtas” Baltazar.

The Google Doodle features an image of “Florante at Laura” his masterpiece. Although most of the poetry at the time was produced in Spanish, Baltazar was different, he wrote in Tagalog and also included Filipino themes in his poetry although the characters he wrote about were not in fact from the Philippines.

Baltazar was born in 1788, in the town of Bigaa in the Bulacan province, this year marks his 230th birth anniversary. He died in 1862 at the age of 74

April 2nd has been declared a non-working day in honour of the poet by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Papal Preacher Quotes Poet

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, who has been the preacher to the papal household since 1980 and has served under 3 separate popes dedicated his Good Friday homily this year to young people. He urged them to have the strength to go in the opposite direction to the selfishness that is so prevalent in the world today.

To illustrate his point Cantalamessa quoted lines from “The Family Reunion” by T.S Eliot.

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