Hughes Festival/Burns’ Plaque/The Book that Wasn’t – Poetry News Roundup August 31st

Our last roundup of the week looks at the Ted Hughes Festival, the renovation work on a Robert Burns’ Plaque and the poetry book that wasn’t.

Ted Hughes Festival

The fourth annual Ted Hughes festival will be taking place from 7thto 9th September in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, UK.

This year the festival will take on a thoroughly modern theme with the more “traditional poets” taking part alongside artists from the world of hip hop and rap. There will be visual arts, activities for children and poetry walks in addition to the usual poetry readings.

Mexborough was the home of the former poet laureate between 1938 and 1951, it was here that he had his first poem published. He left Mexborough when he was offered a place at Cambridge University. He did not return to live there but its influence can be clearly seen in many of his poems.

It is hoped that holding the festival in Mexborough will help to promote that town and give it a positive image.

The festival will finish on the 9thwith an event that is being referred to as the “Ted Hughes Paper Round”, following the route that the young Hughes is likely to have taken on his paper round – his parent owned the local newsagents.

Burns Plaque Refurbished

Saturday 25thAugust marked an important day in the Burns calendar for the town of Falkirk. It is the anniversary of the one and only time that the bard visited the town.

In honour of this, even the town has celebrated by refurbishing the former Crosskeys Inn, where Robert Burns spent the night, although history notes that the only reason Burns, and his travelling companion stayed here was because the Red Lion, the towns premier coaching Inn, was fully booked. The plaque which adorns the building has also been refurbished

The plaque features a glass panel which has a part of a verse of the poet’s work etched into it:

This is the verse that Burns also scratched into one of the windows of the Inn – that window is now on display to the public in Alloway at the museum.

The plaque, which was unveiled on 29thJanuary 1889, was cast in the Mitchell Grahamston Foundry. Over the years it has been painted over a number of times, during the restoration work they had to carefully remove all of these extra layers as well as years of grime in order to return the plaque and the gilded portrait bust of the poet that is on it back to its former glory.

When is a Poetry Book Not a Poetry Book?

And to end the week we have something a little light hearted.

The Hollywood star Jennifer Lawrence caused quite a stir last week when she was out and about. It seemed that she was carrying around a copy of “Lunch Poems” by Frank O’Hare.

The mystery was solved later when it was discovered that Lawrence wasn’t carrying around a copy of the 8.95 poetry book was in fact a clutch bag by Olympia Le Tan which retails for $1500.



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