Today in our poetry news round-up, we take a look at the GACL book prize, the Walt Whitman art that will be displayed in the Library of Congress and the move to create a national day for a poet in Montenegro.
2019 GACL Book Prize
On Sunday GACL – the Greek-Australian Cultural League – announced their 2019 winners. This is a biannual award that was initiated to promote and recognise the literary works of Greek-Australian writers.
The awards ceremony was a celebration of works written either in English, Greek of a mixture of both languages, and the works that were considered for the prizes included prose, poetry and works of history and research.
A variety of local businesses helped the league by sponsoring some of the awards. There was only one poetry award given this year, for a work written in Greek by Yota Krili.
Library of Congress Display Bellmorite’s Work on Walt Whitman
The poet and artist Mark Nuccio is treasurer of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association, a position he has held for a number of years. He is also a published poet, having produced many chapbooks of his own poetry, using many of the same themes as the great poet himself.
This year as part of the “Whitman 200 Festival”, Nuccio has the honour of seeing one of his pieces of artwork – a woodblock portrait of the poet which he produced in 1982 – featured as part of the exhibition. The portrait will be displayed from May to September in the Thomas Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress.
It is only by a stroke of fate that the portrait will actually form part of the exhibition. It was in fact originally a part of the private collection of Louis Simpson, the late poet who penned “Walt Whitman at Bear Mountain”, which was gifted to the library on his death.
In addition to a lengthy career working as an artist and designer in a number of different industries, Nuccio has also been a prolific writer with numerous chapbooks to his name and around 3,500 poems in total. As a child, he was introduced to Whitman’s poetry and the influence is clear to see in his own work.
As treasurer of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association, he brings a real enthusiasm to the role, with plenty of new ideas which they hope will help to increase their visitor number in the next couple of years.
Holiday Urged for Njegos Birthday
Parliamentarians in Montenegro are calling for the country to create a state holiday to commemorate Petar Petrovic Njegos, their most famous poet and also prince. They would like 13th November, the poet’s birthdate to be declared a state holiday as soon as possible
The suggestion has been made as part of the considerations being made whilst the government look possible amendments to the National Holidays Act.
Njego is one of the most recognisable famous figures from the country and his work played an important part in cultural history.
This is not the first time that the government have attempted to declare a national holiday in Njegos name, in 2016 they withdrew a bill that would have added it to the calendar. They also failed to propose the same law in 2013.