Jaccottet Passes Away/Writer’s Home Under Threat – Poetry News Roundup March 2nd

Today on My Poetic Side we look at the death of Philippe Jaccottet and the action being taken to protect the former home of a hymn writer.

Philippe Jaccottet Dies Aged 95

The award-winning poet, literary critic and translator Philippe Jaccottet has died at the age of 95. He was the winner of several prizes including the Goncourt poetry prize and the Schiller Grand Prize, which he was awarded in 2010.

A French-speaking Swiss national, the poet died at his home in France and his family have confirmed that this is where he will be buried. Jaccottet is only one of three poets to have ever been published during their lifetime in the Pleiade collection. The others were Rene Char and Saint-John Perse.

Emmanuel Macron, the French President, issued a statement in which he paid tribute to a man he said was “one of the greatest poets of the century.” He said of his work that he sang about the beauty of the world and the fragile nature of words.

Books written by Jaccottet have been translated into around 20 languages, and as a translator, he has also translated the works of a range of poets and authors including Homer, Frederick Holderlin, Rainer Maria Rilke, Thomas Mann, Robert Musil and Ingeborg Bachmann.

Jaccottet was born in Moudon in Switzerland in June 1925, however, he has lived for most of his life in Grignan in France. Archives relating to his work are housed in Lausanne the Vaud capital in the Cantonal library.

Northern Ireland Hymn Writers Home Under Threat

The former home of Cecil Frances Alexander, the poet and writer behind one of the most loved hymns of all time, is under threat. The local council are looking to safeguard the home which is in Co Tyrone.

A Notice of Motion has been put in place which calls for other buildings in the local to be preserved as well as looking at the option to pursue a Community Asset Transfer. It is hoped that the area can be preserved not only for community use but also for tourism.

The Strabane Historical Society is hoping to be able to convert the house and also a part of the larger site and create a heritage centre for visitors, which will help to showcase the history that the town has. It is hoped that the council will now help to protect Milltown House and ensure that it is made available to the society

Mrs Alexander is perhaps best known for penning “All Things Bright and Beautiful”. She was born in Dublin but grew up in Co Wicklow. The family moved the Milltown House when she was 15. She eventually married William Alexander, a clergyman who became the Anglican Primate for All Ireland, and they lived in a number of different areas of Ireland before finally returning to Strabane. The Hymn was written in 1848, and was intended to be a lesson to teach the meaning of the Apostles’ Creed, in particular, the idea of “Maker of heaven and earth”.

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