Literary Property For Sale/ Derek Walcott Nominee – Poetry News Roundup July 8th

We begin the week here on  My Poetic Side with a look at a property with literary links that has gone up for sale and an article about one of the shortlisted writers for this year’s Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry.

Historic Property That Hosted Many Poets up for Sale

Old Came Rectory near Dorchester is a Grade II listed thatched property with five bedrooms, and it has just gone on the market for £2.85m.

The property was the home of William Barnes, a well known poet and Dorset scholar who was a mentor and friend to Thomas Hardy. Barnes lived there in the later half of the 19th century for 24 years. He met Hardy when he was a teacher and Hardy an apprentice architect. Although there was 40 years between the two men, they became good friends. When Barnes gave up teaching and became the rector of Came in 1862, Hardy was a regular visitor until the former died in 1886.

Barnes was charismatic and fascinating; he was also a gifted mathematician and a natural linguist, and this is what attracted other notable literary figures to his home. His home was a meeting place for the likes of Alfred Lord Tennyson. In fact, after his death, the property was rented by Siegfried Sassoon, and the poets Edmund Blunden and TE Lawrence visited.

The company handling the sale of the property are hoping that its literary history will help to make it an even more appealing purchase to potential buyers.

Oriogun On Shortlist for 2024 Derek Walcott Poetry Prize

The Nigerian writer Romeo Oriogun has made the shortlist for this year’s Derek Walcott Prize. The shortlist contains 15 lucky writers and Oriogun’s shortlisted work is his 2023 collection “The Gathering of Bastards”.

Oriogun is a poet and essayist based in the US. He won the 2022 NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature, the 2017 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and has also been shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Lamdba Award for Poetry. He has also received a number of fellowships over the years.

“The Gathering of Bastards” is his second collection and follows “Sacrament of Bodies” which was published in 2020. The collection takes a look at the movements of migrants navigating both internal and external borders. It takes inspiration from many of the poets own experiences. Much of Oriogun’s poetry explores the topics of sexuality, migration and conversations regarding Black bodies. His next book “The Mystic of Small Dreams” is due to be published in October 2024.

The Derek Walcott Prize was launched in 2019 and is sponsored by The Derek Walcott Festival, the Boston Playwrights and Arrowsmith Press. The prize is awarded to a non US citizen, living poet, for a full length book of poetry that was published in the previous calendar year. The book must either be an English translation or written in English and can have been published anywhere in the world.

There is a $2000 cash award as part of the prize and where the winning entry is a translation the prize money is usually split between the poet and their translator.

The judge for this years prize is Diane Mehta and the winner’s name will be announced on 15th October.





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