Church Window Appeal/Austen’s Favourite Book/Sweary Poem For Students – Poetry News Roundup January 13th

Today on My Poetic Side we look at the appeal for funds for a church window in honour of a poet, the return of Jane Austen’s favourite poetry book, and the school that sent home a sweary poem.

Appeal Looks For £25,000 For Church Window in Honour of War Poet

A project has been launched to honour the life of Wilfred Owen, the soldier and First World War poet.

The Dunsden Owen Association is hoping to be able to raise £25,000 in order to install a new stained-glass window in the Dunsden church. Owen who lived in the village between September 1911 and February 1913 assisted the vicar of the church as a lay assistant.

When he died at the crossing of the Sambre-Oise Canal in 1918 Owen was just 25. He is widely recognised as one of the greatest British war poets of the 20th century.

The Dunsden Owen Association was founded in 2013. The design for the new window will be the subject of a competition which will be held shortly, there will be six prize winners, although they will not be announced until 2022 when their designs will be shown to residents who will select the design that will become the window. The association have over the course of the last couple of years organised several events to remember the life of Owen who they believed was a significant inspiration for the work of the poets who followed him, poets like Seamus Heaney and BenJamin Britten.

Chawton House Sees Return of Books by Jane Austen’s Favourite Poet

Chawton House, an Elizabethan manor house in Hampshire, has purchased a rare first edition of a book titled “Poems”. The book which was written by the poet William Cowper was a favourite of Austen’s and once belonged to her brother. The copy that has been purchased consists of two volumes, it was published in 1782 and there is a good chance that it was the copy read by Jane Austen herself. The book was bought from a dealer who had placed them up for sale at a price of £8000.

The purchase was made possible thank to funding from the Godmersham Lost Sheep Society and the Friends of the National Libraries (FNL) both of whom have been searching for books that would have once been found in the Godmersham Park Library – these volumes have long eluded them.

School Apologises for Poetry Anthology Containing Expletives

A school in Penrice has had to issue an apology to the parents and pupils in year 8 after they realised that the anthology of poetry that they had sent home to help with homeschooling contained a sweary poem.

The offending poem was “American Football” which contained a reflection on the Gulf War and was written by Harold Pinter – it was included in a booklet of World War 1 and 2 poetry.

The poem had been part of an anthology that the school had downloaded at short notice to send to parents, due to the short notice given for the closure of schools they had not had a chance to check it before forwarding it. Most parents and several of the pupils were amused by the poem saying that its inclusion offered a welcome note of humour in the current time.

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