Poet’s Museum Fund/Banksy’s Artwork/Serena Williams ‘If’ – Poetry News Roundup March 11th

Today we bring you articles about the teenagers trying to save a poets museum, the confirmation of an authentic piece of artwork by Banksy, and the tennis star reading poetry for International Women’s Day.

Teenager Trying to Raise Funds to Save Poets Museum

A Scottish teenager and his friend are preparing to hopefully raise half of the amount that is needed to repair the Michael Bruce Cottage Museum near Kinneswood. The two friends will be racing up Bishop’s hill over a period of 20 days as part of their challenge, pushing themselves to get to the top quicker each day; the height covered will be equivalent to that of Mount Everest.

Michael Bruce is a little-known Scottish poet whose work inspired Robbie Burns. He was known as the “Gentle Poet of Lochleven” and the visitors centre was set up in the home where he was born and died to honour him. The building is now crumbling and in need of urgent repairs which have been estimated at around £10,000.  The attraction is the second most known one in the area, the first is the castle at Loch Leven.

Bruce had a very short life, dying at 21 from tuberculosis. He wrote a total of 40 poems and 12 Scottish Paraphrases, sometimes referred to as Gospel Sonnets, during his lifetime.

For almost 200 years much of his work was wrongly credited to Rev John Logan who had borrowed the poet’s manuscripts and even published some in his own name. Many of Bruce’s lines inspired Robert Burns

Banksy Confirms Artwork

We recently bought you a story about a piece of artwork on the wall of the jail where the poet Oscar Wilde was once held, it has now been confirmed by the artist Banksy that the painting is one of his pieces of work.

This confirmation is being seen by many as the artist adding his voice to the campaign to save Reading Jail and turn it into an arts centre rather than allowing it to be redeveloped for housing.

The confirmation was made via the artist’s website.

Serena Williams and “If”

In recent years there has been much said about the poet Rudyard Kipling and his stance on the British Empire, with him being branded a racist.

The tennis star Serena Williams chose “If” one of the poets most famous poems to mark International Women’s Day earlier this week when she read aloud a reimagined version of the poem. The move might have been seen as a little unusual by many, but this isn’t the first time that Williams has been linked to the poem, the opening lines of which she is well acquainted with as they are written over the entrance to centre court at Wimbledon.

The reimagined version of the poem by spoken word artist Deanna Rodger, see the words ‘You’ll be a woman, sister!’ replacing Kipling’s famous line ‘You’ll be a Man, my son!’ amongst a few other adaptations.

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