Armenian Poet Celebrated/Neruda Film/Somaliland Imprisonment – Poetry News Roundup February 22nd

Our final poetry news round-up of the week brings you articles about a bronze statue to commemorate an Armenian poet, a film about Pablo Neruda and the poet being held in prison in Somaliland.

Bronze Statue Commemorating Tumanyan Unveiled

A bronze statue to commemorate Hovhannes Tumanyan, the Armenian poet and publicist, was unveiled earlier this week in Tbilisi on the balcony of the Tumanyan scientific and cultural centre. The statue was a gift from Dato Chichinadze, a Georgian MP on the 150th birth anniversary of the poet.

The cultural centre, which is named after the poet, is in the house where he lived from 1904 to 1923. The writer’s personal effects were moved to Yerevan in 1952, and 4 of the rooms 6 rooms were turned into a library. The remainder of the house belonged to his heirs. Following Georgia’s independence, this ownership was given to the Georgian people.

The remainder of the building was eventually purchased and given to the diocese who had the building fully renovated and furnished.

Tumanyan is considered by many to be the “All-Armenian poet”. He was a prolific writer, producing poems, ballads, novels, quatrains and fables. Many of the phrases and expressions that he used in his work have become a part of everyday language.

The story of Pablo Neruda Presented by Cinema International

Pablo Neruda, born 1904, was a Nobel Prize-winning poet, diplomat and Chilean politician. Cinema International will be hosting an upcoming showing of his biopic.

The biopic, which was shown at Murray State University’s Cinema International yesterday will have a second showing tonight. In the documentary, the viewer is given a glimpse into the somewhat tumultuous life of the poet. Much of the inspiration for the film comes from real life events that happened in the political history of the country. There are however a few “fictional” events. The film titled simply “Neruda” does, however, pain a more realistic psychological picture of the poet as opposed to some of the other films that have been made about him making it well worth the watch.

Amnesty International Demand Release of Poet

A Somali poet, who is a British citizen in the self-declared republic of Somaliland has become the subject of recent news reports. Abdirahman Abees has been imprisoned in the country following a recital he made at a hotel in the capital Hargeisa.

The poems were critical of the current government. Amnesty International have said that the poet must be freed and have recommended that the authorities should be looking into the mistreatments that he described in his poems rather than “harassing” him for bringing it to the attention of the public.

If Abees is found guilty, he could be sentenced to a three-year prison term. He has been in detention since his arrest on 12th January.

Abees is not the first poet to face a jail sentence in the country. Last year a poet was jailed following a recital of a poem which called for the reunification of Somalia. The poet in question received a three-year sentence but was later released on a presidential pardon. Several journalists and other artists have been arrested in the last few years for the same offence.



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