Penguin Assault/Egyptian Poet Faces Trial/Tagore Anniversary – Poetry News Roundup May 10th

Today’s poetry news roundup takes a look at the poet accusing an editor at Penguin of assault, the Egyptian poet facing a military court trial and the 157thbirth anniversary of the Bengali poet Tagore.

Penguin Editor Accused of Assault

The poetry editor at Penguin, Donald Futers has been of “assault” by the poet Amy K Blakemore. She has also accused Penguin Random House, his employer, for failing to act on the incident.

The claims have been denied by Futers. Penguin has said that they take any allegations “extremely serious” and they had looked into the claims and had been satisfied that they had acted fairly and swiftly.

The statement was released by Blakemore on Monday via Twitter explaining that she had met the editor at a poetry reading shortly after the release of her debut poetry collection in July 2915. This led to a further meeting where the poet claims she was assaulted by Futers.

What followed were a series of email between the poet and the editor during which Futers apologised to Blakemore and she decided to take the matter no further, however on hearing rumours of his behaviour towards other women she decided to make a formal complaint to Penguin.

She has now decided to speak up publicly about the incident and has received support from a number of other authors including the poet Claire Askew

Egyptian Poetry to Face Military Court Trial

Freemuse the group who advocate for and defend freedom of artistic expression have called for all charges to be dropped against the Egyptian poet Galal El-Behairy. He is facing charges of “spreading false news” and Insulting the army”. Both charges which are in relation to his new poetry book “Earth’s Finest Women” carry prison sentences, 2 and 3 years respectively.

In addition to this case which is to be tried in a military court, the poet is also facing civil charges along with Egyptian musician Ramy Essam. They are accused of insulting Islam and the current administration after lyrics written by the poet were used in a song by Essam.

El-Bahairy was arrested on 3rdMarch this year shortly after the release of the song, he wasn’t seen again until 7 days later when he appeared before the state prosecution. It is reported that at this time he showed signs of torture.

157thBirth Anniversary of Tagore Celebrated

Yesterday West Bengal paid tribute to Rabindranath Tagore, the first Nobel Laureate from Asia, on the occasion of his 157thbirth anniversary. His songs, poems and plays were heard across the state. The anniversary is celebrated according to the Bengali calendar which has the poet’s birthday falling on the 25thday of the first month according to the calendar.

There were a number of events that took place during the day including enactments of his plays and some of his most famous dance dramas. The house where he was born was thrown open to the public and there were also special prayers organised during the course of the day.



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