PEN Pinter Prize/Corbyn’s Poetry Launch/Poet’s Lego Likeness – Poetry News Roundup 3rd July

We begin the week with a look at the 2023 winner of the PEN Pinter Prize, the launch of Jeremy Corbyn’s poetry anthology and the poet commemorated in Lego.

PEN Pinter Prize Awarded to Michael Rosen

The poet and former children’s laureate Michael Rosen has been awarded this years PEN Pinter Prize. This is an annual award that is given for writers with “outstanding literary merit” who the judges feel have an unflinching way of looking at the world.

Whilst Rosen is possible most well-known for his children’s books, in particular “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt,” his work has also tackled more weightier subjects like the Holocaust and migration.

He joins an impressive list of previous winners including Margaret Atwood, Malorie Blackman, Lemn Sissay and Salman Rushdie.

Speaking about Rosen, the chair of the judging committee said that he was an incredibly fearless and tenacious writer. He has written more than 140 books and championed a method of writing for children which incorporates their everyday world whilst using wordplay and humour in order to really help the imaginative way of thinking, a way that has really helped to make innovative strides in the way literacy is taught in schools.

The PEN Pinter Prize was  set up in 2009 in memory of Harold Pinter, the Nobel laureate playwright in connection with English PEN, a charity dedicated to defending freedom of expression through literature. The award ceremony will take place on 11th October, and Rosen will name the international “writer of courage” with whom he will share his award.

Jeremy Corbyn’s “Pretentious “ Poetry Ripped into by Twitter

The former leader of the Labour party is currently promoting his poetry anthology and things may not be going quite to plan. He posted the famous “Rise like Lions” verse at the weekend and Twitter users were quick to criticise him.

Believing the poem to be his, they were unimpressed with his use of the word Ye, feeling it was pretentious. One Twitter user was quick to ask what he might actually know about Lions and why he would have chosen to use a subject he knew nothing about. Some even suggested that it was poetry that would have upset the Vogons (Douglas Adams The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) who were known for their awful poetry!

The poetry in question is, in fact, verse XXXVIII of The Masque of Anarchy which was written by Percy Bysshe Shelley.This is a particular favourite poem of Corbyn’s. He has previously recited it at Glastonbury in 2017 when he appeared on the Pyramid stage.

The anthology, which is titled Poetry for the Many, was co written with Len McCluskey.

100th Anniversary of Poet Celebrated in Lego

The 100th anniversary of the birth of Wisława Szymborska has been celebrated by toymaker Lego, who have created a stunning tribute to the Polish Nobel Prize winning poet.

The model was created using 21,000 bricks and depicts the moment the poet was awarded the Nobel prize in 1996. It will be displayed at the Malopolska Gardens of Art (MOS) which is in in Krakow, the poet’s home city. It measures 113 cm wide, weighs 30 kg and includes over 380 Lego figures, there are also hidden clues alluding to some of Szymborska’s poems.

The scene was the work of the first Lego-certified professional builder in Poland, Mateusz Kustra.

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