Controversial Poem On Government Website/Politician Quotes Poet/Dragon Boat Race Poetry – Poetry News Roundup June 24th

Today on My Poetic Side we look at a poem causing controversy on a government website, the politician who often quotes poets and the annual Dragon Boat race.

Slang Form of N-word Will Not Be Removed From Official Website by Parliament

As the Black Lives Matter movement continues to pick up momentum around the world, with countries looking at removing statues of individuals with backgrounds that are no longer deemed appropriate for public display, and well-known grocery brands looking at changing the images they use to better reflect the times we live in, a poem on a government website is causing an issue.

The poem in question was published By George Elliott Clarke, the former parliamentary laureate in Halifax to the government website during his tenure. The poem, written by El Jones is called Shakespeare and depicts the bard William Shakespeare as a black rapper.

Clarke stated that he was not interested in censorship and on Monday the parliament made the decision not to remove the word. In a statement that was issued following their decision they said

Their conclusion was that the word had been used fully in the appropriate context to better help readers understand the language that had been used. They fully believe that good poetry should, in fact, be provocative and make readers really think.

Clarke, who works as a professor at the University of Toronto said that in this particular poem the word is used to reflect an urban context. It is a political word that has been utilised in a political framework that is positive.

Clarke was the first Black poet laureate in Canada.

When Politicians Quote People in speeches

Politicians, and indeed other public figures, are fond of quoting people when they are making speeches. Often they hit the headlines for misquoting the words of a poet, or worst still attributing them to the wrong poet.

Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach, has been ridiculed recently for his use of a quote from the film Mean Girls, ridicule which he described as “snobbish”.

The Taoiseach is more widely known for using quotes by the poet Seamus Heaney, JRR Tolkien author of Lord of The Rings and even the singer Dermot Kennedy in his speeches, particularly during the last few months.

Defending his choice of words, he discussed the easing of lockdown restrictions in the country, a move that also came in for sharp criticism with those people who feel that things are moving too fast and all at once.

Duanwu Jie – Dragon Boat Festival

Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that this year’s annual Dragon Boat Festival in China is due to go ahead as planned on 25th June.

Celebrated on the lunar calendar’s fifth day of the fifth month, the festival honours the memory of the poet Qu Yuan who waded into the river during the Zhou Dynasty to commit suicide. Nearby villagers raced to their boats in an attempt to rescue him but were not successful.



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