Lee Bennett Hopkins Award/ Gerald Manley Hopkins Tribute – Poetry News Roundup March 1st

Today our poetry news round-up takes a look at the 2023 winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and the tribute concert for Gerald Manley Hopkins.

Lee Bennett Hopkins 2023 Poetry Award Winner Announced

The 2023 winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award has been announced, and Nikki Grimes has won with “Garvey in the Dark.” The announcement was made by the Pennsylvania Centre for the Book and Penn State University Libraries which oversees the prize. The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award is an annual one that is presented to an American anthologist or poet who has produced the most outstanding book of children’s poetry in the previous year.

The book which is published by Wordsong who is an imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers has described “Garvey in the Dark” as a powerful and moving tale that is beautifully told and shows the reader that everyone has the potential to make a difference in the world.

In the book, Grimes has chosen to explore the world of both the Black Lives Movement (BLM) and the start of the Covid-19 pandemic through the perspective of a preteen boy. Using rhythm and line breaks, the poems can be read as standalone pieces or as an overall collection telling a story. The judges felt that “Garvey in the Dark” is a time capsule that, 20 years from now, children will be able to take a look at and see how people felt during the pandemic. The collection offers a more global experience to the reader. Grimes has drawn on personal life and used the Japanese poetry form Tanka (which dates to the seventh century) to help with this.

The prize for the winning piece of work is $1000 from the estate of Lee Bennett Hopkins and an engraved commemorative. There was also an honour award which was presented to Katey Howes for “A Poem Grows Inside You”.

The prize is named after Lee Bennett Hopkins, who was a famous poet, educator and anthologist with a passion for bringing poetry to young people. The award was established in 1993 and was the first of its kind to exist in the US. Each year the winners of selected by a panel of literary experts, including teachers, authors, librarians and scholars.

Tribute Concert Held For One of Britain’s Greatest Poets

A choir in Blackburn are holding a tribute concert for Gerald Manley Hopkins, the poet who is considered to be one of the most important writers from the Victorian era.

Hopkins who was also a Jesuit priest has been studied in schools for many decades. The concert will take place in Clitheroe at Stonyhurst College, where Hopkins taught both Latin and Greek for a number of years.

From their base at Blackburn Cathedral, the Blackburn Chamber Choir will be performing a number of musical settings based around some of the most well-loved of Hopkins poems. There will also be some readings of his poetry.

Robert Bridges, who was the poet laureate was the first literary promotor of Hopkins”s work. His own work, much like Hopkins”, was also set to music by famous English composers. There are several letters between the two men that have survived, and there will be settings of these texts included in the concert.

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