Toe Loss Poet/Tower of London Poet/Edna St. Vincent Millay – Poetry News Roundup February 16th

In our final news round-up of the week, we take a look at the man who found poetry following the loss of a toe, the appointment of the first poet in residence for The Tower of London and finally a poetry reading to mark the 126th anniversary of the birth of the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Toe Amputation Leads to Poetry Mission

Poetry can sometimes come from the most unusual beginnings and that is certainly the case form Justin Hussey from Lincoln. In June of 2017, Hussey who is well well known locally as his drag act Kandi-Kane had to have a toe amputated due to complications with his diabetes.

He was also forced to give up his job as a chef and found himself with a lot of time on his hands as he was stuck at home for 100 days recovering from the amputation. However, thanks to the challenge set by his close friends he soon found himself with a new pastime.

The challenge was to write 100 poems in 100 days, and it kept him going not only through the recovery process but also the loss of his grandfather who was the subject of one of the first poems that he penned. About halfway through the challenge someone suggested that maybe publishing a book of the poems would be a good idea and so “100 Days and 9 Toes Later” was born.

The book is due to be launched on 10th March, and a percentage of the money from each book with go to the charity St Barnabas Hospice.

“Poet in Residence” at the Tower of London

A Poet in Residence has been appointed for the Tower of London. The honour of being the very first to hold to post goes to Inua Ellams a 34-year-old writer and spoken word artist.

Born in Nigeria, Ellams will be running a yearlong programme for the Tower that will include a number of “thought-provoking” events. His other responsibilities will include curating a series of poetry, creating “Confessions at The Tower” a series of spoken word performances, and perhaps most interestingly the mixing of real confessions with historical records. As part of this, he will be looking to commission other writers to help tell the tale of the history of The Tower and what relevance it has in today’s London.

Ellam will also be taking part in “Outliners” as part of a feature in the second podcast series which will be about Historic Royal Palaces. The Podcast will showcase a selection of fictional history stories about the people behind the scenes.

Poets 126th Birthday to be Celebrated

The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland Maine will be celebrating the 126th birthday of the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay with a special poetry reading. The event which is titled “Millay will take place on 24th February and is being run in collaboration with the UMaine Humanities Centre and the Millay House Rockland.

A selection of the poet’s poems and letters too will be read by local poets, as well as some of their own work. Millay travelled all over the world during her lifetime, she visited Albania on horseback, took a steamship to the Orient and lived in both England and France where she travelled all over the country by train to recite her poems to an audience. She always returned home to Ragged Island in Casco Bay.

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