In today’s poetry news round-up we take a look at the new poet laureate for Philadelphia and the success of Rupi Kaur.
2020-2021 poet Laureate for Philadelphia Named
Trapeta B. Mayson has been named as the poet laureate for the city of Philadelphia for the next 24 months.
Born in Liberia the teaching artist is inspired by the experiences of being an immigrant and the lives of everyday people. The decision was made by the governing committee for the position of poet laureate who choose the winner from an extensive pool of candidates. The current poet laureate who will be leaving the position shortly is Raquel Salas Rivera who has been the poet laureate since 2018.
Mayson is the winner of a number of poetry awards, she has also been nominated for a Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow, a Pushcart Prize and the Aspen Words Emerging Writers award. She has published one collection of poetry and also a chapbook, as well as being published in a number of local and poetry journals.
Since the fall of 2017, the program for the poet laureate has been run by the Free Library. The position is a civic one that was put in place to recognise a poet who was exceptional and demonstrated a greater commitment to the field of poetry and would work towards inspiring and engaging people. There is also a youth poet who is selected every year – this position includes an educational scholarship.
The Writer of the Decade – Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur, the young Canadian poet, shot to fame when she began sharing her poetry in a rather different way, using the internet (specifically Instagram), rather than the more conventional method of sending a book to a publisher.
Kaur, who is still not even 30 years of age, achieved huge success, possibly more than she could ever have hoped for and has since published two books which have proved just as popular as her social media poetry. Milk and Honey was published in 2015 and was followed in 2017 by The Sun and Her Flowers.
Her poetry offers a rather unusual style. The lack of uppercase letters is immediately apparent and they are full of metaphors. This is certainly not a form of poetry that appeals to everyone but for young people with little time these are poems that speak and offer a simple, short, poetry that is easy to read, digest and move on from in the short space of time they have available.
Kaur is being hailed as the poet of the decade and, with sales of over 3.5 million copies of her books, and an Instagram following that is quite frankly staggering, it isn’t hard to see why she has been given the title. Whilst she may not be popular with those people who prefer “real poetry”, she has managed to do something quite remarkable and turn a generation of people glued to their devices to a world of poetry that they never realised existed.