Vandalised Poet’s Statue/Bertold Brecht/The Love Bank – Poetry News Roundup February 13th

Today’s news roundup brings you articles from the Ukraine, Germany and Slovakia as we take a look at a vandalised statue, the Bertold Brecht Prize for literature and “The Love Bank”.

Vandalised Statue of Poet

Vandals in the city of Stryi, in the Lviv region of Ukraine, have damaged a monument erected to the memory of the poet who is regarded by many as being at the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature; Taras Shevchenko.

The monument, which is located in the culture and recreation park in the centre of the city, has had its head broken off by unknown individuals. Law enforcement was called to the park on the 11th February after the discovery was made. The local police officers have unfortunately very little to go on, the head was not found near the statue, but they are looking for local culprits who they believe may have been involved.

The statue played an important part in this years Day of Unity of Ukraine ceremony when it was visited by the Ukrainian president and his wife who laid a floral tribute at its base.

Bertolt Brecht Prize for Literature

The winner of this years Bertolt Brecht Prize for Literature has been announced as Nino Kharatishvili.

Established in 1995 this prestigious award which is named after Bertold Brecht, the famous poet and playwright, is thought of by many to be one of the most important literary awards in Germany. In its ninth year, the award is only handed out every three years.

The award has previously been awarded to poets, novelists and playwrights, with previous winners including Ingo Schulze, Urs Widmer and Silke Scheuermann.

This is the latest in a long line of awards that “The Eighth Life (For Brilka)”, her acclaimed work has now received. The jury felt that Kharatishvili’s work should be recognised for the way in which the novel:


 “The Love Bank”

In the run-up to Valentine’s day, couples are making a special journey to the small Slovak town of Banska Stiavnica. They are visiting
an interactive exhibition that is housed in the former home of Maria Pischlova.

The exhibition is in commemoration of “Marina” the longest poem about love in the world which was written by Andrej Sladkovic, a Slovak poet. The poem which as created in 1844, contains a staggering 2,900 lines and tells the story of the ill-fated love between Maria and the poet. The story is not dissimilar to that of William Shakespear’s “Romeo & Juliet”, however in the case of the poet and his love the story was true, and she was forced by her parents into marriage with a rich gingerbread maker.

The exhibition features a number of interactive elements such as the
on which couples can measure the strength of their feelings. However, the bank is what draws most people, in the basement of the building is a tunnel and this has been fashioned into a vault-type room. The vault contains one hundred thousand little drawers, one representing each letter, punctuation mark and gap in the original poem. Couples are invited to place items in the drawers that represent memories of their romance.

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