Yeats Trail/Dylan Thomas Long List/ Australian Laureate Search – Poetry News Roundup February 1st

Today’s poetry news-related round-up looks at the new WB Yeats trail, the longlist for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the search for an Australian poet laureate.

WB Yeats Trail Opens

A new cultural trail that will celebrate the works and life of WB Yeats, the Nobel Prize-winning poet, has recently been launched. The trail which can be downloaded as a new smartphone app was officially launched on the anniversary of the poet’s death. Yeats died in 1939 on a day that fellow poet WH Auden described as a “dark, cold day”.

The event was attended by a large number of people who gathered to pay homage to the man who was the Irish Poet Laureate. The trail can be found in Bedford Park, a location where the poet spent many of his early years and where much of his poetry was written.

The idea is that people will be able to follow in Yeat’s footsteps whilst looking at historic images via their phones and listening to his poetry. The project was spearheaded by the poet Cahal Dallat who has spent many years trying to revive the legacy of Yeats. Polly Devlin, who is the sister-in-law of the late Seamus Heaney, also took part in the opening celebrations.

The project hopes to give a better understanding of the poet to local people.

Prestigious Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist Announced

The Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize is one of the largest literary prizes in the world aimed at young writers, and they have just announced their international longlist for this year.

Writers on this year’s longlist not only include debut writers but also established ones from counties as far afield as Kenya, Australia, Lebanon, Somalia, Nigeria and, of course, from the UK and Ireland. The works on the longlist cover topics such as adversity and love, and coming of age. There are two collections of poetry, eight novels, and two short story collections on the list.

This year’s longlist of 12 includes 8 female writers, one of whom is a British up-and-coming talent whose work explores coming of age in a hostile environment and what it feels like.

The prize is £20,000 and will be awarded to the best piece of literary work that has already been published. It can be from any of the different categories; the only other stipulation is that it is written by someone who is 39 or under.

This year’s judging panel is a diverse range of individuals who work in the field of education, for the media, are published writers or even previous winders of the prize.

The shortlist will be announced on 23rd March, with the ceremony to announce the winner taking part on 11th May, just before International Dylan Thomas Day, which falls on 14th May.

Who Will be Australia’s First Poet Laureate in Two Centuries?

In the early 19th century, Australia appointed Michael Massey Robinson, a former convict, to be their first and, to date, only poet laureate. His pay, a couple of cows, he is known for having written Ode for the Queen’s Birthday, 1814.

Now after two centuries, the post is set to be revived as part of the national cultural policy, and in 2025 Australia will appoint an official poet laureate.

This is something that those in Australian literary circles have been campaigning for over a number of years, and there are plenty of names to consider. However, at the moment, there is no shortlist of potential candidates.

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