Lanier Prize Winner/McGough Venture/Langston Hughes at the Library – Poetry News Roundup February 4th

Today in our poetry news roundup, we take a look at the winner of this years Sidney Lanier Prize. We also have a short article on the poet Roger McGough and his latest poetry / music venture and finally Langston Hughes at the library.

2020 Sidney Lanier Prize

The Spencer B. King Jr. Centre for Southern Studies at Mercer University will be awarding this year”s Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature to Ron Rash, the poet, novelist and short-story writer.

The prize ceremony will take place on 18th April in the Presidents Dining Room which is located on the Macon campus at University Centre.

Rash hails from Chester in South Carolina. He has an undergraduate degree from Garner-Webb University and also a Masters from Clemson University. He is currently working in the English department of Western Carolina University as a Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Studies.

Rash’s poetry is inspired by the longings and lives of the people who live in southern Appalachia. God and nature are both significant topics in his work. Over the years he has made significant contributions to the traditions that surround Southern writing. The committee for the Sidney Lanier prize was impressed with his work.

In addition to being the author of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 2009 Rash has also written four prize-winning novels, for collections of poetry and also six collections of stories. He has won numerous awards including the O. Henry Prize, twice.

The Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern literature was inaugurated in 2012 and is named after the Southern-born poet of the 19th century of the same name. Rash joins a list of illustrious previous winners including Natasha Trethewey who won in 2018 and Ernest Gains the first winner of the prize.

Roger McGough in Chichester

The poet Roger McGough who has penned more than 100 poetry books for both children and adults will be teaming up with LiTTLe MACHiNe later this week at a theatre in Chichester.

Together they will be setting a selection of poetry ranging from the classic to more vintage McGough to music, including a number of pieces from his latest collection “joinedupwriting”.

They first met at a gig, McGough can”t quite remember where, and the poet was so impressed with what they were doing that they started working together to produce something rather special. Used to working alone the new collaboration is something of a first for McGough.

Langston Hughes at the Library

The social activist and jazz poet Langston Hughes will be the subject of a program at the Ocean County Library, Long Beach next Monday.

The program is being sponsored by New Jersey Council for the Humanities in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Hughes own special style of jazz poetry was inspired by his own life experiences of being black and in the lower classes. His work mainly looks at the divisions that exist and the prejudices that are based o skin colour even within the black community itself.

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