Lost Poem Found/Porter Poetry Prize/Longfellow Anniversary – Poetry News Roundup February 26th

Today’s poetry news roundup takes a look at a lost poem, the shortlist for the 2019 Peter Porter Poetry Prize and the town preparing to celebrate the 212th anniversary of the birth of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Poem from 1893 Reunited with Authors Family

A high school teacher in Oklahoma has been collecting used books for a number of years and over that time has found some rather unusual things inside the books including a corn husk, a nail file and a 29-cent Elvis stamp.

The item that has stood out for her the most, however, was a piece of beautifully handwritten poetry that she found, ironically inside a poetry book that she purchased in December. Written in beautiful cursive writing the poem which is dated 1893 is addressed to the Lancaster Gazette in Ohio. The poem was written by Ed Ruffner. The teacher was determined to reunite it with the relatives of the writer and spent time during her winter break going through family trees and census records in an effort to any of Ruffner’s relatives.

Through the powers of Instagram, she was able to find his great-granddaughter who told her that Ruffner had written a lot of poetry and that the family still had some of his poems. The letter was sent to the Lancaster Eagle Gazette, and they published it just 126 after it had originally been written.

Shortlist for Peter Porter Poetry Prize Announced

The Australian Book Review (ABR) has announced the shortlist for the 2019 Peter Porter Poetry Prize.

The prize is named after the British based Australian poet who passed away in 2010. Early the following year, the ABR announced that they would be changing the name of the prize, which was given for the first time in 2005, in honour of Porter.

The five shortlisted poets will hear who has won on 18th March when an announcement will be made in Melbourne. The winner will take home a prize of $5000, the runner up $2000 and the other shortlisted poets will each get $500 each. All of the shortlisted poems will also be published in ABR in March.

School in Boise Helps to Remember Eminent American Poet

Wednesday 27th February will mark the 212th birthday of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. A school in Boise who shares the poet’s name will be marking this special occasion.

The school, which had its own rather special celebration a while back (a centenary in 2006) has been preparing for this special occasion for a while. They have applied for grants from the city in order to be able to add appropriate quotes to the sidewalks of the school. In addition to quoting Longfellow, they also plan to use from quotes from Einstein and also Keller.

The Longfellow quotes will take centre stage and will be taken from some of his most famous works including “The Ride of Paul Revere” and “The Song of Hiawatha”. Such was the poet’s popularity during his lifetime that visitors would knock on his door all day long, hoping to catch a glimpse of him in much the same way people try to spot TV stars nowadays. His likeness was also reproduced on a number of household items such as bookends and china.

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