We begin the week here on My Poetic Side with a look at the Queen’s audience with Grace Nichols and the exhibition on the work of Kim Stafford.
Poet Grace Nichols Has Face-to-face Audience with Queen
The Queen carried out another face-to-face meeting at the end of last week when she met with poet Grace Nichols. The Guyanese poet was at Windsor Castle to receive her Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.
The chair of the Poetry Medal Committee, the poet laureate Simon Armitage, was also present.
Nichols has received the medal in recognition of her body of work with includes
her first collection of poetry which was published in 1983. She has also written several books for children and some prose. She was named as the winner of the award in December when she said how proud she was to have been recognised for her work which is a celebration of her South American / Guyanese / Caribbean heritage and the English Traditions that as due to them having formerly been a British colony they have inherited. She grew up loving English and poetry and has tried to bring a register of her native tongue to these with her work.
The Queen’s Medal for Poetry was the suggestion of John Masefield in 1933 when he was poet laureate to King George V. Former winners of the award include Siegfried Sassoon, Philip Larkin, John Agard – who is Nichols’ husband – as well as WH Auden. It is presented to someone who is from a Commonwealth country or from the United Kingdom.
Exhibition Sheds Light on Creative Process of Poet
All too often, curators are force to make deductions about the exhibits they display, however this is not the case for Dr Hannah Crumme, who works as the head of special collection at Lewis & Clark. She is referring to the new exhibit that will be dedicated to the work of Kim Stafford, the Oregon poet laureate.
In this case Stafford himself helped to curate the exhibition so that is gives an accurate reflection of his work and the artistic process that he goes through to achieve his results.
The exhibit is the first one that will have been open to the public at the college since the pandemic. It opened on 18th March and will run all the way through until 20th August.
Stafford was the founder of the Lewis & Clark Northwest Writing Institute and has not only taught poetry all over the world, but has also written and published a number of very successful poetry books of his own. His work is often described as being very Oregon based, with much reflection made on the local environment and community.
The idea for the exhibition came into being when Stafford donated all of his archival materials to the college. This was something that his father, William Stafford, who had also been a professor at the college and a poet, had also done.
The exhibit looks at Stafford’s entire thought process for creating a poem. It includes drafts of his poetry and also notes, further drafts and even published drafts. There is also evidence to show how he documented his work, including his notes, camera and even his teaching materials.