Book To Celebrate End Of Donor Ban/Mackellar Homestead Opens/Sufi Poetry Revivalist – Poetry News Roundup June 7th

We begin the week with a look at the poetry book helping to celebrate the end of the blood donor ban, the opening of Kurrumbede and the poet helping to keep Sufi poetry alive.

Poetry Book Reissued for End of Blood Donor Ban

The poet RJ Arkhipov, who grew up in Newport, is to see his first collection of poetry “Visceral: The Poetry of Blood reissued during Pride Month.

The book is to be reissued by Zuleika, a London based company, in paperback with Fabien Ghernati, a French artist providing the illustrations. The book is to be released on June 14th, World Blood Donor Day (which also falls in the middle of Pride Month) and will commemorate that day on which the ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood will be lifted in the UK.

The decision is particularly poignant. When the book first came to the attention of the world in 2015 it was because the poet had written a number of the poems in the collection using his own blood. This was a decision he made in protest against the ban on donating blood. The first publication of the book was made 3 years later, by Zuleika, this was a hardback book containing photo illustrations for Maud Maillard.

Australian Sporting and Literary History Meet on Historic Homestead

The Kurrumbede homestead in Gunnedah, which was a popular destination for the poet Dorothea Mackellar, will be opening this weekend to visitors for the first time.

The property has been preserved by the Whitehaven Coal company, which owns the land surrounding it, and now both the homestead and its surrounding outbuildings have been returned to their former glory.

Whilst the property is most commonly known for its association with the poet it also has a connection to the Olympic sporting history of the country as well. The Australian medal-winning swimmer Andrew Murray “Boy” Charlton who rose to fame during the Paris Olympics of 1924 went to school with the Mackellar brothers before attending agricultural college and working as a stable hand at Kurrumbede.

There are a range of events planned for this one day only event including readings of many of Dorothea Mackellar”s poems which were inspired by the property and the local area.

The Poet Keeping Afghanistan’s Poetic Past

A poet of the grand age of 81 is keeping the spirit and traditions of Afghan Sufi poetry thriving behind the walls of Kabul Public library.

The library, which was built 55 years ago is located in the capital and is a simple three-storey building housing the collection of poetry and other books. Ghulam Haidar Wujodi has been looking after the books for many years, despite whatever life in the city of Kabul has thrown his way. On the wall behind his desk is a small hole caused by a steel ball bearing, the result of a car bomb just a year ago.

Wujodi came into the world in Panjshir but relocated to Kabul when he was a young man hoping to become a published poet, joining the Association of Poets in 1965. In 1966 he, along with three other poets, became a founding member of the library which is one of the oldest public libraries in the country.

Although he is retired, he still turns up at the library every day to help. In 1996 this was one of just a few libraries spared by the Taliban, who decided that books were dangerous and had many of the libraries in Afghanistan burned.

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