Poem with a Twist/Candy Royalle/Rumi Tribute – Poetry News Roundup June 26th

In today’s poetry news round-up we take a look at a rather unique twist on a classic poem. We also have sad news about the death of a spoken word artist, Candy Royalle, and finally, in Bhopal a music event that pays tribute to the poet Rumi.

The Odyssey Rewritten with Female Lead

Halifax poet Sue Goyette was watching a couple of young deer munching the grass as the city of Halifax slept and the hours passed turning dawn into early morning when she was struck by the image and how perfectly it brought to mind her most recent work. Goyette had been rewriting her take on the epic Greek poem “The Odyssey” by Homer. Her version, a 96-page poem is titled, Penelope.

In Goyette’s version, the narrative of the poem does not focus on the man but rather on his partner and thus her title role, the lead is female. In her poem, Goyette brings the reader images of a life that is dormant, yet rich and tremulous, where in the end it becomes almost impossible to tell the dreams from the waking parts.

Goyette wanted to change the way we perceive things, she wanted to show that what drives her female heroine is something that has been largely unconsidered in those works we consider to be timeless. Those people who are familiar with The Odyssey may be surprised to find they discover something new in the story of Penelope.

A Fierce and Bright Light of the Poetry World Dies at 37

Candy Royalle, an award-winning spoken word artist and activist from Australia has passed away at just 37. She had been diagnosed with Ovarian cancer in 2014 and had been suffering for many years.

Royalle, who is described as being of Lebanese-Palestinian and Australia descent, was a tireless activist on the public stage who campaigned to improve the visibility of female artists of colour. She had been something of a mainstay on the Sydney performance poetry scene for over 10 years.

Fellow slam poets and authors were quick to take to Twitter to pay Tribute to Royalle.

In April of this year Royalle, whose real name was Cindy Malouf, was awarded the Australis Red Room poetry fellowship. The prize carries $10,000 worth of commissions, in addition to a residency and a paid position of employment which had been due to start on 18thJune.

She had given her last public performance on 5thJune, when she took part in “Word in Hand” a monthly poetry night with her band the Freed Radicals.

Two Day Musical Event

The town of Bhopal has been treated to a two-day musical event, running from 25thJune, that included a play based on the life of Rumi, the 13thcentury Sufi philosopher-poet Rumi. This took place on the first day of the event and discussed in detail the life and philosophy of Rumi.

There will also be a musical part of the event which will include a dance-based drama performance. The event will conclude with a presentation that will take place to round up the final night.

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