Sheffield’s Next Laureate?/Belarusian Freedom Day/Dante Success – Poetry News Roundup March 26th

Today, our roundup explores news of a potential new Poet Laureate, the celebration of Freedom Day in Belarus, and Dante Day Success.

Student from Sheffield Hailed as Next Poet Laureate

During an award ceremony that celebrated women, Sylvia Chen, a student from Sheffield, was hailed as a contender to be the next Poet Laureate. Chen was at the awards ceremony, which took place in York, where she was awarded a prize for her creative writing.

The competition is now in its fourth year and is a part of the Women in STEM project. The aim of the competition is to bring women from a wide range of backgrounds together, to consider ways in which they might help shape the future of industries such as the rail industry.

This year’s entries in the competition were not just confined to the written word but also included raps and dance.

The competition is helping in the vital drive to bring more women into the rail workforce, as numbers currently stand only 16% of the workforce is female.

Musician Sets Poets Words to Music for Belarusian Freedom Day

Zmitser Vaitsyushkevich, a prominent Belarusian musician, has joined forces with Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu, the poet and politician, to mark the unofficial Freedom day of Belarus.

Dzień Voli (Freedom Day) is a non-official holiday in Belarus and is celebrated on 25th March in order to commemorate the day in 1918 when the Belarusian People’s Republic came into existence at the end of WW1. The day is however unofficial because it is denied by the Lukashenka regime who are known to prevent the celebrating of the day by opposition forces.

 

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of this year’s celebrations were cancelled or forced to go online instead.

 

Dante Triumphs on Social Media

March 25th marked the launch of a full year of events planned to mark the life of the poet Dante Alighieri on the event of the 700th anniversary of his death. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, all of the physical events that had been planned all over the country had to be postponed. However, this did not stop people from coming together to honour the man who is widely acknowledged as the father of the Italian language.

Online tributes began at 11 am with a film that had been created by scholars of the poet. This was transmitted via the YouTube channel for the Ministry for Cultural Heritage of Activities. At midday, thousands of young students read Dante’s work as part of their distance lessons. An invitation was also extended to all Italians to take social media using the hashtags # Dantedì and #IoLeggoDante and posting lines from their favourite Dante work.

There were even a number of flashmobs that took place in the events, from the safety of their individual balconies, both in Italy and abroad which saw parts of The Divine Comedy being read. Even the State Police took part with a reading from Purgatory. Despite the restrictions that were put on the day, organisers have hailed it as a success that brought people together.



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