Pulitzer Poet/Japanese Poet’s Exhibition – Poetry News Roundup May 10th

Today on My Poetic Side, we look at this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Poetry winner and the ground-breaking exhibition for a Japanese poet and artist.

Pulitzer Prize for Poetry Awarded

Carl Phillips, who is a poet and works as a professor at Washington University, has been named as this year’s winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. The prize has been awarded for his most recent book,

“Then the War: And Selected Poems, 2007-2020.”

The collection is a chronicle depicting an era of American culture that is filled with crises in politics, identity and, finally, the pandemic.

Philips is 63 and the fifth faculty member from Washington University to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. He has been at the University since 1993 and teaches English. He has also been a finalist four times for the National Book Award and is a recipient of both the Jackson Poetry Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.

Some of his poems are also influenced by his life as a Black man living in St Louis. Phillips says that he has often been pulled over by the police because they wanted to check the car, he was driving was his, but on seeing his University ID card, everything has been fine. This position and the defensiveness it has made him feel in his life has become more apparent since the deaths of George Floyd and Michael Brown, and this is something he has explored through his poetry.

Fukuda Kodojin Celebrated in Retrospective

A ground-breaking exhibition has opened at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MiA). Titled Fukuda Kodojin: Japan’s Great Poet and Landscape Artist, the exhibition looks at the work of Kodojin, who was one of only a handful of artists who, after 1900, continued the tradition of Literati painting.

His art style is characterised by his vivid use of colour and monochromatic ink used to create unusual mountain forms. The exhibition will be running until 23rd July.

As well as being a very accomplished artist, Kodojin was also a poet who had an extensive knowledge of Chinese literature. A society was created in the late 1920s which honoured the work of the poet and included many educators, scholars and even the prime minister of Japan. When he died, his name slipped into a state of obscurity and today; he is perhaps better known outside of his native Japan.

This exhibition is the culmination of a staggering 15 years of research and the discovery of over 1000 poems and 800 calligraphies and paintings. It is the first real retrospective of the poet and artist that has ever been undertaken. There are only a handful of his paintings on display in galleries all over the world. This exhibition offers a rare opportunity for people to really see much of his work in one place, and the collection includes items that are on loan from the US, Japan and Europe.

Many of the paintings that feature in the exhibition are accompanied by poems which complement the artwork.

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