Paul Dunbar/Duke’s Poetry Competition/National Poetry Day – Poetry News Roundup June 18th

We begin the week here at My Poetic side with a look at a roundup of the poetry news events of the weekend. First, we have commemoration event for the poet Paul Dunbar. We also bring you the winner of the poetry competition launched by the Duke of Cambridge, and also, the launch of National Poetry Day.

Ohio Events Commemorate Poet

The prominent 19thcentury black poet Paul Dunbar was commemorated this weekend with a number of activities in the run-up to the anniversary of his birth.

The Ohio poet was born on 27thJune 1872 in Dayton to former slaves.

The events were hosted by the Paul Laurence Dunbar Historic Site who also be hosted a birthday party in honour of the poet. There were poetry readings as well as music and storytelling and tours of the house where Dunbar lived. This is the house where he completed his last work shortly before his death in 1906.

The house is open every weekend for visitors to tour free of charge.

Nurse Wins Poetry Prize

Earlier this year we brought you the story of a poetry competition launched by the Duke of Cambridge in commemoration of the centenary of the end of World War One and in aid of the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre.

The winner of the competition has been named as Debbie Lawson, an A&E nurse who has worked as a PTSD counsellor and is from a military background. The inspiration for her winning poem came from the true stories that she was told by a patient who witnessed his comrades killed in action in Afghanistan.

This is the first poem she has ever submitted to a national competition, she didn’t let on to any of her family or friends that she had entered the competition, and she did it in the hope that her words would help other traumatised soldiers. Her poem impressed both the panel of high-profile judges and the general public, who also got a vote in the competition, and even led to her being called the “next Wilfred Owen”.

On Thursday Mrs Lawson and her family will be at the new DNRC facility where the Duke of Cambridge will read the poem before it is mounted on the wall as part of the official handover.

There were over 5000 entries to the competition, with poems ranging in subject matter from memories of relatives who have been part of the armed forces to the Manchester Arena terror attack. This number was reduced to just 5 by the panel of judges and then voting was opened up the public. Mrs Lawson won with a staggering 49% of the total vote.

National Poetry Day Launched by Henry Normal

Before we know it UK National Poetry Day will be upon us again. Well, it won’t be until October 4thbut in the run-up to the occasion the BBC has been asking its local radio listeners to let them have some stories to inspire some of the leading poets in the country.

The poet, TV producer and Comedian Henry Normal launched the event on the radio this morning and discussed this year’s theme which is “Change”.

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