Canterbury’s New Poet Statue/Neruda Shrine Mystery – Poetry News Roundup June 29th

Today on My Poetic Side we look at the statue that has been commissioned to celebrate a poet and the unusual carvings of Pablo Neruda’s poetry on rocks in Scotland.

Canterbury Eyes New Statue of Poet

Plans for a statue that will celebrate the life of the first professional female poet and writer and her connections to the city of Canterbury have been unveiled.

4 different designs of Aphra Behn have been unveiled in the search for a design for the new statue. The statue is being commissioned by Canterbury and will commemorate Behn who lived from 1640 to 1689. She was not only a playwright, poet and novelist but is widely hailed as the first professional female author in history. Her book “Love Letter Between a Nobleman and his sister” is believed to be the very first British novel. Her love poetry which she wrote to other women means that she is also recognised as an icon within the LGBTQ+ community.

It is hoped that the statue, which will cost in the region of £80,000, will be placed either in the High Street, or, if permission is given, in the Beaney Museum in the city.

Artists were asked to submit their designs for the statue, and of the 50 submissions that were received, a shortlist of just four has been compiled. The final vote on which design will be used is being left open to a public vote. Each of the shortlisted designs has been made into a bronze replica statue, measuring just 50cm tall. These statues will be making a tour of the UK over the summer so that they can be seen by as many people as possible.

There has been strong support for the project from politicians and celebrities including Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, Margaret Atwood, the novelist and poet and associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Alexandra Gilbreath.

“Marine Shrine” to Pablo Neruda a Mystery

There might be more than 7000 miles between the coastlines of Isla Negra and Sannick, but thanks to a mystery shrine for Chilean Nobel prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda they appear to be linked.

A number of poems by Neruda have been discovered on rocks on the north coast of Scotland. The poems which have been carved into the face of some of the smaller rocks were discovered by Andrew Simpson. Initially, he didn’t pay much attention to his findings, then later realised there were over 20 of the carvings.

The discovery, which has been made over 50 years since the poet was killed during a military coup, is being hailed a “significant and unusual shrine” however it is not known who created the carvings. A number of the verses are from ‘Las Piedras del Cielo’ (The Stones of the Sky’).

The only possible clue to the creator of the carvings is what appears to be a signature -Stefanos – a Greek name that has a line running through it. Despite contacting local stonemasons, the work must have been done by an expert given the complex location of the stones, nobody has been able to shed any light on the carvings.

Whilst there are many similarities between this area of Scotland and Neruda’s Isla Negra it is believed that the poet never visited the area.


  • tallisman

    That’s really strange!

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