Writers Week’s Honours For Poets/World Cancer Day – Poetry News Roundup February 8th

We begin the week here on My Poetic Side with a look at the three poets who will be honoured during Writers Week. We also take a look at the poems written for World Cancer Day.

Three U.S. Poet Laureates to be Honoured During Writers Week

February 13th will see the start of the 44th Annual Writers Week. This is the longest-running literary festival that is free in California and will once again be held by UC Riverside. On 19th February during a special closing event, the current poet laureate and two former laureates will be honoured with lifetime achievement awards.

The three are being described by the organisers as a luminary trifecta; each of them has not only been publishing poetry for over 40 years but they were also all firsts to hold the position. Rita Dove was the first African American to hold the post, Juan Felipe Herrera the first Latinx and Joy Harjo, the current poet laureate, is the first tribally enrolled citizen to hail from a Native nation.

They will be joining a list of previous winners of the award including Margaret Atwood, Maxine Hong Kingston, Walter Mosley. John Rechy and Nguigi wa Thiong’o. This year the award is a little different as it is the first time that the organisers have decided to honour three writers at the same time.

The award ceremony, together with all the events that are organised for the week will take place online and are free for everyone. This is the first year that the event will have been a virtual one.

World Cancer Day 2021

Thursday last week marked World Cancer Day. In Manchester doctors, patients and researchers joined forces with Tony Walsh to highlight the commitment that the region has made to cancer services.

The poet who is often referred to as “Longfella” was born in Manchester and came to the public eye following the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing with his poem “This is the Place” a poem that captured the country. Walsh gave the poem to a local charity so that any profits made from it could go to help others and to date, it has raised around £200,000.

To mark the occasion the poet read his latest poem “Innit, love?”. The poem has a special significance to Walsh who dedicated it to his late mother and the medical professionals who cared for her over several years. She was treated for a rare type of spinal tumour before passing away in 2008.

Walsh said that he felt privileged to have been involved in the event and to be able to take the opportunity to thank those who had done so much for others in terms of the care, compassion and northern spirit that they shared with all of their patients.

Meanwhile, in Wales Ifor ap Glyn, the National Poet of Wales also published a poem to mark the occasion. Ail-ddychmygu, a welsh language poem was released with the aim of helping young people to understand the risk of cancer and the progress that is being made in the field of medical research.

The poem was commission by a project that is being led by Cardiff University and the Wales Cancer Research Centre.

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