Today in our poetry news round-up we take a look at the poet remembered with a statue, plans to remove the railings outside the Bards birthplace and the PEN America Awards.
Statues Unveiled in Maryland State House
It is more than 155 years since the abolishment of slavery. Now, the state of Maryland has granted one of the highest honours that can be given by the government to the most famed black abolitionists in the state.
In the same room of the Old House Chambers, located in the State House, where the state adopted the new constitution that saw slavery banned in November 1864, two bronze statues have been erected. These statues, which are life-size, depict Frederick Douglass and the poet and abolitionist Harriet Tubman. They are created as they would have been at the time, when slavery became illegal in Maryland.
The statues were unveiled earlier this week at a ceremony that was a part of the efforts that are being made by the state to commemorate the contribution made to their history by some of their black figures in history. At the same time, many of the commemorations that have been in place to the Confederacy are being removed.
The bronze statues have been created by the company in Brooklyn who created the statue of George Washington that is in the capital and depicts him delivering his 1783 speech in which he resigned his military commission.
Plans to Move Railings That Protect The Bard’s Birthplace
Plans to move the railings that surround the birthplace of William Shakespeare are being considered. The railings, which are believed to have been in situ since 1862, are there to protect the building from visitors who are a little over-enthusiastic. They have been leaning over to touch and, in some cases, remove small parts of the building. There is even evidence that some have gone a little further and actually removed roof tile from the building to keep as souvenirs.
Shakespeare was born in the house in 1564. It is hoped that planning permission will be granted to move the railing forward by one meter in order to help preserve its façade for generations of future visitors.
The trust has stated that if they are given permission to move the railings they will reuse as many of the current railings as is possible, and they will also take the opportunity to repair those railings that have been damaged by tourists leaning over them.
They also hope to install new lighting to the exterior of the property between the railing and the house which will also help with security.
The Trust who manage the day to day welfare of the property is expecting a decision to be made regarding their planning application by the end of March.
PEN America Writing Award
The British playwright Tom Stoppard and the Canadian poet M. NourbeSe Phillip are to honoured by PEN America in March.
The announcement was made earlier this week that the Stoppard, who is 82, will receive the $25,000 prize and Phillip will receive the Nabokov Award for international literature which is worth $50,000.