BBC Gaelic Poetry Documentary/Ulysses Translation/Pandemic Poet – Poetry News Roundup June 18th

Today, we take a peek at a new BBC documentary, the translation of Ulysses and pandemic-centred poetry.

Gaelic Poets Old and New To Be Topic of BBC Documentary

A new BBC documentary will be available on BBC iPlayer until 8th July. The documentary will look at the subject Gaelic poetry over the years and will also work to showcase modern poetry talent.

The documentary will be looking at the subject of Gaelic poetry and the changes that it has gone through over the years before looking at some of the currently prominent poets. Gaelic poetry and literature have seen a significant resurgence in recent years.

The documentary will look at the work of some well known Gaelic poets, including Sorley MacLean, Iain Crichton Smith and Derick Thomson. They are amongst the poets who have been a recent source of inspiration to many aspiring poets and have created a lasting impression in the world of poetry.

Cathy MacDonald, the show’s presenter will also be investigation the poets who have played an important part in her life and reflecting on just how important it is to keep Gaelic poetry alive.

The poets who are featured in the programme include those who were born on the Isles of Lewis and Skye but in some cases have moved away to bigger cities such as Edinburgh whilst still being heavily influenced by the heritage and language of their birthplace.

The poetry that they write includes the more traditional style of verse, performance poetry and even hip hop lyrics.

Ulysses to be Translated into Latvian

The acclaimed Latvian translator Ieva Lešinska-Geibere is currently working on translating Ulysses by James Joyce. It is hoped that it will be available for publication at some point in 2022.

The translation was discussed during a “virtual” conference in honour of the poet that was held for Bloomsday, 16th June. It is something of a new tradition that people walk the streets of Riga accompanied by short readings of the work which mention locations around the city. Ulysses has made a significant impression on both the culture and the literature of the area, although during the Soviet era it was banned. The current Latvian translating was published in 1960 in Sweden.

The Bloomsday celebrations, which are normally a big event each year were cancelled in Ireland. However in Latvia, there were still a number of things that were organised, all taking part either virtually or with the appropriate social distancing. The day is named after Leopold Bloom the protagonist in Ulysses and has been celebrated since 1954 with carnivals and people dressing up in period costume, both in Ireland and more recently in Latvia. It is hoped that next year the countries of Estonia and Lithuania might also become involved in the celebrations.

Poems for a Pandemic

Amongst the poetry books to emerge from the pandemic is a collection of poems written by those who have been affected by the virus and those who have been working in the frontline.

Poems for a Pandemic includes a poem by a young poet who is just 10 years old and was moved by the money-raising determination of Captain Tom Moore to put pen to paper.

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