Today on My Poetic Side, we take a look at the work of a long lost Victorian poet, the 2024 Causley Trust poetry competition and Robert Burns on Minecraft.
Long-lost work of Victorian Poet to be Republished
Simon Tennie, an Associate Professor of Victorian Poetry working at Exeter University, has unearthed a treasure trove of poetry written by the Burnley poet William Cunliffe that was written in the 1860s.
Cunliffe was a poet and blacksmith who is little known and was a dialect poet. The works were found when Tennie was compiling a database of “Lancashire Cotton Famine Poetry”. He is now in the process of attempting to raise sufficient funds to enable him to produce a collection of the poetry, and has already managed to raise just over half of the money that is needed.
In order to cover the costs of production for the volume of poetry, The Knives Forks and Spoons Press are looking to raise £500 in donations. Once the book has been published, the volume will be available to purchase internationally.
Over the past decade, Cunliffe has been featured in a number of national press outlets and has also had an entry in the ODNB. In 2016, his work was featured in the Times and then in 2018 in the Sunday Times. He was also mentioned a number of times in the same year on the World at One programme on BBC Radio Four, the Guardian and the Smithsonian Magazine.
Whilst his poetry was first published between 1862 and 1864 it as only in 2015 that it was really discovered in the Burley Free Press and General Advertiser. There has never been a collection created of his work.
Professor Rennie is very keen to showcase the work of Cunliffe to echo the relationship that other Lancashire towns have with their Victorian poets; Edwin Waugh in Rochdale, Samuel Laycock in Ashton-under-Lyne and Willian Billington in Blackburn.
2024 Young People’s Poetry Competition Opened by Causley Trust
The Causley Trust have launched this years Young People’s Poetry Competition. The competition which celebrates the work of Charles Causley, the Cornish poet, is aimed at helping young writers to explore poetry.
The theme this year is the topic of magic, and the organisers are hoping to see plenty of creativity. The poet who was based in Launceston wrote prolifically for both young people and adults on a range of themes including myths and folklore.
The head judge this year currently resides at Cyprus Well, the poets former home and is a part of the “poet-in-residence” programme.
Entry is open to all young people between the ages of five and eighteen who live anywhere in the UK. There will be first, second and third prizes in each category and also “highly commended” awards. This year, a poet who is based in Cornwall will receive an honourable mention.
Robert Burns and Minecraft
A recreation of Ellisland Farm, the home of Robert Burns, has been launched through Minecraft and is available on the mobile app.
Millions will be able to explore the property and also hear Auld Lang Syne and a rendition of Tam o’Shanter as they game.
This innovation was shortlisted last year for the Knowledge Exchange Awards’ Innovation of the Year. The idea is to make the game more accessible to people in the run up to Burns night.