Thoor Ballylee/Poet is awarded Fellowship at Kings – Poetry News Roundup July 31st

Today in our poetry news roundup we take a look at Thoor Ballylee, the former home of WB Yeats and the mission to preserve it. We also look at the poet and astronaut awarded an honorary fellowship by Kings College London.

Protect Thoor Ballylee!

The Yeats Tower – Thoor Ballylee, near Gort, Co. Galway. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy 29/11/’02

Roy Foster, an internationally renowned historian and biographer of the poet WB Yeats has called on the authorities to protect Thoor Ballylee, the former home of the poet. The historic tower house was the inspiration for some of the poet’s acclaimed works and should be preserved claims the historian.

Thoor Ballylee was home to the poet and his family during the 1920’s and was also something of an important location for Irish culture. This is not the first time that Foster has championed Thorr Ballylee and the need to preserve it. In 2002 he was part of a group who were successful in an appeal against Galway County Council who wanted to grant a planning permission for a private home to be erected less than 100 meters from the historic tower house. The appeal was upheld stating that it “would detract from the literary interest, character, heritage and value of the national monument”.

As it stands there is no specific plan in place to protect and safeguard the building, despite the significance it has to Irish culture, and this is something Frost believes should be rectified as a matter of some urgency.

It is believed that Thoor Ballylee dates from the 14thcentury. It was purchased in 1916 by Yeats and his wife, who then spent many years restoring it. In 1928 however, due to Yeats’ ill health the family were forced to move out as the tower was often damp and flooded on more than one occasion. It was the inspiration for two collections of poetry, The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stria (1933) and also the poem Prayer for My Daughter.

The tower is currently open to the public; however, it is still very much at the mercy of the weather and the lack of funding that it receives means that this may not be the case for much longer.

Ilford Poet Awarded Honorary Fellowship

Hussain Manawer, who is just 27, has been awarded an honorary fellowship from Kings College London faculty of social science and public policy. He joins a very revered list of King’s Fellows who include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the comedian Jo Brand and Lord Attenborough

Hussain who is a poet is also set to become the first Muslim from Britain who will travel into space. He has also just launched the largest mental health youth festival in the UK in conjunction with Twitter, which can be found using the hashtag #HussainsHouseLive. And if all that wasn’t enough he recently set a Guinness World Record for the Largest Mental Health Lesson in the World.

Hussain believes that it is very important to spread the word about mental health, he wants people to feel it is a subject that can be talked about rather than something that is taboo. He uses his poetry to share important messages and empower those people who are facing a difficult time.

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