Arts Festival Cancelled/Citizenship Test/Forestry Commission Poetry – Poetry News Roundup February 15th

Our final poetry news round-up of the week takes a look at a cancelled arts festival, the British Citizenship test and a poem by Carol Ann Duffy, commissioned for the Forestry Commission.

Arts Festival Put on Hold

This weekend should have seen the first of the many festivals of 2019 that have been scheduled for McBurney Park in Kingston. However, the organisers have been forced to cancel with just a few days to go, as the festival centrepiece is at the centre of an alleged vandalism incident.

Poets from all over the local area flock to the Skeleton Park Arts Festival for a day of poetry and skating. This year the centrepiece of the festival was a poem that was written by Olivia Ows, a local grade 11 student. The poem, “Sunrise on Ice”, was printed onto the side boards of the rink to surround the ice.

With only 2 days to go until the festival, it was discovered that the boards had been destroyed.  The organising committee felt that there was only one choice open to them – cancelling the event.

Ows was inspired to write her poem by the winning poem from last year “Night Skaters, Skeleton Park”.

It is hoped that the festival will now take place in the next couple of weeks.

The British Citizenship Test

With Brexit looming, there are many people who are looking at their options when the UK leaves the EU. For those who are eligible, there is the chance to apply for citizenship and take the test.

This test has been put together to test applicants on thousands of years of British history, including the subjects of arts, culture, sport and inventions. Some of the subject matter in the 180-page Handbook, issued by the Home Office would have even a hardened quiz enthusiast sobbing. Applicants are given just 45 minutes to answer 24 questions about pretty much anything and must achieve 18 correct answers to get a pass.

The handbook states that British poetry is “among the richest in the world”, although only one page of the 180 is in fact dedicated to the subject! Mention is made of some of the best-known poetry from the likes of William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Wilfred Owen and William Blake.

There is also mention of some of the oldest surviving poems known. Applicants are expected to learn about Beowulf, the Anglo-Saxon classic, and Canterbury Tales by Chaucer.

Pay Tribute to the Trees

The people of Britain are being urged to pay homage to the forests with poetry, letters or stories.  Just over 10% of the county is wooded. In a poem titled “Forest”, commissioned by The Forestry Commission, the UK poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy explores the relationship that humans have with the trees. The Forestry Commission will be celebrating its centenary this year.

Trees and forests have been a huge inspiration over the years to many British writers, William Shakespeare was very fond of using woodland settings in much of his work.

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