Taiwan Library Donation/Queen’s Birthday Honour for Poet/Montreal Poetry Prize – Poetry News Roundup June 2nd

Today we take a look at a donation to the National Central Library in Taiwan, the Southland poet given a Queen’s Birthday Honour and this year”s Montreal International poetry prize.

Late German Texts Donated to Library

Gunter Whittome, a researcher and his Chinese wife, Professor Chang Sheng-ching have donated a collection to the National Central Library. The texts which date from the late 19th century to the early 20th century include some original publications. A total of 69 texts, including works by the writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poets Christian Johann Heinrich Heine and Gottfried Keller and Moritz Schlick the philosopher were amongst the collection.

17 books by the renowned poet Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller made up the single largest set of books in the collection.

During World War II, Whittome’s father served in the British Army and he purchased the books in West Berlin following the war. As a professor of languages, he was a proficient French and German speaker.

The National Central Library, which is located in Taiwan, is home to around 5000 books in foreign languages, and some 100 of the books are over 100 years old. The library is of significant important to Taiwan and a major part of the collection was donated to the library from the private collection of Li Shizengm a citizen of the Republic of China who during the 1930s lived in Geneva.

The library plan to make the new donations available to the public in the form of digital works, they will be catalogued, preserved and then digitized.

Queen’s Birthday Honour for Southland Poet

One of Southlands most distinguished poets, Cilla McQueen, has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list this year. She has been awarded with the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

The Order of Merit was awarded for Dr Cilla McQueen’s services as a poet. She has written 15 complete volumes of poetry since she began her writing career in the early 1980s.

She is also a three times winner of the New Zealand Book Award for poetry, and from 2009 to 2011 she was the New Zealand poet laureate. She is predominately inspired by the Southland and Otago regions and has a particular interest in writing about history, people and the landscape.

In addition to her writing, Dr McQueen also volunteers during her spare time to give poetry readings of her own work in both schools and community centres all over New Zealand. She has also been the Burns Fellow (named after the poet Robert Burns) at Otago University and in 2008 was awarded an honorary doctorate. She received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in 2010.

Montreal International Poetry Prize Hosted by McGill

The Montreal International Poetry Prize is a biennial award and submissions are open until 10th June. This year, the award will be hosted by the Department of English at McGill. The competition was created in 2010 and was the idea of Asa Boxer, the poet and literary critic.

The prize of $20,000 is awarded to a poet who produces the best poem of 40 or fewer lines.

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