Slam Competition/Politics and Poetry – Poetry News Roundup August 21st

In our final poetry news roundup of the week, we look at the poetry slam competition moving to national tv and the presidential candidate and his relationship with poetry.

Poetry Slam Moves to National TV

When the pandemic struck 5 months ago the world ground to a halt, events all over the world were cancelled or postponed until a later date when it was hoped that everything would be under control and a return to more normal life could be resumed. The First Citizens National Poetry Slam (FCNPS) was one such event. However, now it is set to resume on national TV on 23rd August.

The remaining stages of the competition for this year will be streamed live on television taking care to adhere to the latest health protocols for the virus. The first semi-final will take place on 23rd August, the second will follow a week later on 30th August. In total 40 competitors are expected to take part in both semi-finals – the last time they got to perform was in January when they secured their semi-final places.

The competition which is run in partnership with the Bocas Lit Fest has been running for 8 years and the committee who oversee the competition are determined to continue to support it to the full extent possible. Finding a solution that will allow them to continue despite the COVID-19 crisis is vital for the young poets that they support.

Following the semi-finals, a total of 12 poets will advance to the final round, they will then challenge the winner of last year’s competition. The grand final is scheduled to be broadcast on 27th September.

The Politician and Poetry

In his acceptance speech for his nomination to represent the Democratic party in the run for president of the United States, Joe Biden quoted the poet Seamus Heaney.

Speaking to an almost empty room due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the presidential candidate vowed to unite the country which he says has been torn apart by contempt and the current crisis.

Towards the end of his speech he quoted Seamus Heaney the Irish Nobel Prize poet saying

Biden has quoted Heaney a number of times before and whilst it is not uncommon for those in the public eye, in particular poets, to turn to the poets when they want to borrow some great words Biden has his own reasons to be particularly fond of poetry.

As a young man, he struggled with a difficult stutter that caused him a lot of trauma growing up. He didn’t access any of the professional help that could have helped him with his stutter but was determined to do sometime about it. He spent house reading the poetry of Irish poets like Heaney and William Butler Yeats in front of his mirror to help him deal with his stutter. Whilst he does still find himself stuttering on occasion, he builds special pauses into his speeches to help with this, in the same way as poems have pauses to build the emotions.



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