English Literature Exam Shakeup/ Pelosi Quotes Poet- Poetry News Roundup June 27th

Today on My Poetic Side we look at the decision being made to shake up the English Literature Exams and the poet quoted by Nancy Pelosi.

Education Secretary Denounces Exam Boards Decisions Over English Literature Shake-up

The Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, has spoken out against what he has termed “cultural vandalism” following a decision by one of the biggest exam boards in the country to remove a number of key poets from the English Literature course and future exams.

Works by poets like Wilfred Owen, John Keats and Philip Larkin are to be removed by OCR from their future courses and instead replaces with works by LGBT, black and disabled poets. Other poets who are set to be removed include Siegfried Sassoon, Thomas Hardy and Seamus Heaney as the exam board looks to drive more excitement and diversity in a topic that many students find rather difficult.

Those students who have just sat their GCSEs studied 45 different poems for the OCR papers, of these 15 will be replaced. Where the “conflict” section of the paper featured works from World War One poets, it will bow be dominated by poetry by those who represent the disabled and LGBT voice as well as poets of colour.

OCR has indicated that poets who are likely to be introduced to the syllabus include Ilya Kaminsky and We Lived Happily During the War, Louise Bennett Coverly’s Colonisation in Reverse and Thirteen by Caleb Femi. These new poets come from a wide range of backgrounds with many having part-British heritage

In addition to the comments made by the Education Secretary, who studied poetry in English to help him better grasp the language of his new country when he and his family fled Iraq in the mid 1970s, there has been much dismay at the decisions. A representative of the Thomas Hardy Society said that it was a particular worry that Wilfred Owen was being removed, his poetry was vital as it was written by a serving soldier and capture the true atrocities of war. It was also pointed out that his poetry could also be seen to be a representation of the LGBTQ voice as he was a gay man at a time when homosexuality was a punishable criminal offence.

The chair of the Philip Larkin Society said that they were also very disappointed by the news.

The anthology of poetry that was compiled in 2015 will however continue to include poems by William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson and Lord Byron, at least for the moment.

USA: House Speaker Quotes Poet

Speaking after the Roe vs. Wade decision made by the Supreme Court, Nancy Pelosi the House Speaker made an appearance in front of the media.

Condemning the decision which many world leaders have also spoken out against, Pelosi who is well known for her strong opinions turned to the words of Ehud Manor, an Israeli poet and quoted the poem “I Have No Other Country.” She followed this by saying that they hoped the Supreme Court would open its eyes to the decision they had made.

This is not the first time that she has used poetry, in particular a poem by Ehud Manor, to help make her point.



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