Booke’s Letter Up For Auction/Tagore Twitter Celebration – Poetry News Roundup May 10th

Our first poetry news round-up of the week takes a look at some of Rupert Brooke’s letters that have gone up for auction and the 160th anniversary of the birth of the poet Rabindranath Tagore.

Letters from Rupert Brooke to Friend in Fiji Sold at Auction

Just before World War One, Rupert Brooke, who is one of the most respected British war poets, wrote two letters to a friend in Fiji. At the end of last week, the letters went on auction in London and have sold for £9058.

The letters were written by the poet to James Dixon, a friend who it appears was host to the poet in Fiji. The pre-sale estimate for both letters was £4000 to £6000. The letters which were described as “a rarity to the auction market” were purchased by a trade buyer based in the UK.

Brooke died on 23rd April 1915 of septicaemia. He was on his way to Gallipoli at the time. It is known that in 1912 he suffered a significant breakdown and also that he sailed the Pacific where he spent several months in the South Seas where he recuperated. It is believed that during this time he must have been a guest of the Dixon family. Dated 17th December 1913, the first letter was sent from Auckland, New Zealand where the poet was staying at the Grand Hotel. It mentions that the poet thought “New Zealand isn’t so bad”, it goes on to say that he has found a few possible and passable books, which he gifted to the Dixons.

The second letter was written on 21st July 1914 and was sent from Rugby just before Brooke enlisted in the army. In it, he mentions how his meeting with the Dixon family was a delight.

Both of the letters were a part of the Douglas family estate; the Douglas’s were publishers who worked in Edinburgh.

Rare Photos and Poetry Posted on Twitter to Celebrate 160th Birthday of Rabindranath Tagore

Sunday marked the 160th birthday of Rabindranath Tagore, the poet laureate and Bengali novelist. The event which is normally celebrated in the state of West Bengal with festivities saw a change this year due to the current restrictions in place due to the pandemic.

With in-person celebrations unable to take place, people took to social media instead. Twitter was full of tributes and wishes to the “Kobiguru”. There were unseen and old images of the poet shared together with photos of another influential individual like Gandhi. Quotes and even lists of some of Tagore’s work were also shared, and even a video that was shot in 1930 and showed the poet’s visit to the Russian capital, Moscow.

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi also took to Twitter to pay tribute to the poet saying that he was hoping that the ideals that Tagore stood for would give the nation the inspiration and strength to build the India that he often talked about.

Tagore was a poet, playwright, composer and philosopher. He was awarded the Nobel prize for literature.

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