Suspension on Nicaraguan Poet Lifted/Evening of Poetry with Cicely Fox Smith – Poetry News Roundup February 20th

Today on My Poetic Side we take a look at the Pope’s lifting of a suspension on a Nicaraguan poet and priest. We also have an article about an evening of poetry written by Cicely Fox Smith.

Suspension of Nicaraguan Priest and Poet Lifted

In 1983 a suspension was imposed on Ernesto Cardenal, a priest and poet from Nicaragua. The suspension was made by Pope John Paul II due to the part the Cardenal played in the leftist Sandinista government that came to power after the dictator Anastasio Somoza was toppled by the rebels of Daniel Ortega.

In imposing the suspension, Pope John Paul II stated that priests were not allowed to assume any political positions and that he was displeased by a movement of such pro-revolutionary priests as Cardenal who were accused of ignoring the clear instructions from the church and had chosen to mix leftist ideology with theology.

During a visit to Managua’s international airport in 1983, John Paul II showed his displeasure by pulling his hand back as Cardenal went to kiss the papal ring, instead pointing his finger at the priest.

The Vatican’s ambassador to Nicaragua confirmed late on Monday night that Pope Francis had, at the request of Cardenal, removed the canonical censures. The priest, who is now 94 years old, has been in hospital for the last week. Nuncio Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, speaking for the Vatican said: 

Sommertag joined Cardenal at the hospital on Sunday where he celebrated Mass with him.

Cardenal who is well known for his signature black beret and white smock shirts has been nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature four times since 2005. “Epigrams” and “Zero Hour” are amongst his best-known works.

The Wareham Whalers and Fish and Chips

Osmington Village Hall will be hosting a celebration for the “poet of the sea” this Friday. The event which is being organised by the Wareham Whalers is a celebration of Cicely Fox Smith, the Edwardian poet and writer. Fox Smith was passionate about writing about ships, sailors and everything maritime. Many of her poems on the subject were set to music.

Living in the Edwardian era, it is unlikely that the poet herself spent much, if any, time at sea however her words are surprisingly evocative of a life at sea, the smells, sights and sounds that the sailors would have encountered.

The Wareham Whalers are a shanty crew who rely on tight harmonies and accurate and their attention to getting all the historical details just right. The work of Fox Smith is something that they have been hoping to tackle for some time, and they are delighted to have been able to put this together.

The poetry portion of the evening will be followed by Fish and Chips!



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