Today in our poetry news round-up we take a look at The Book of Hopes and the Keats-Shelley archives as they venture online.
The Book Of Hopes
Whilst the former poet laureate of the UK, Carol Ann Duffy, is collecting poems from respected poets to catalogue people’s feelings during the pandemic, Katherine Rundell the children’s author has turned her attention to something aimed at children. The Book Of Hopes is a collection of original stories, poems and illustrations from some very well-known names. The illustrator Axel Scheffler, and authors Jaqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo have collaborated on the book.
Throughout history there are plenty of examples of strange advice being given, the firing of muskets both outdoors and inside was the suggestion during the 1793 yellow fever outbreak in Philadelphia for those looking to purify the air. Powdered dried toads and tobacco have also been suggested at points in history as ways to protect against plagues. One piece of advice that has remained constant across the ages is that it is good to tell stories.
Whilst it is true that stories and poems will not protect us against coronavirus they can really help by giving us something else to focus on. This realisation led to Rundell wanting to do something to give children a little escape of their own in book form and so she emailed some of the children’s authors and illustrators whose work she admired and asked them if they would be able to contribute something to the book. The response was overwhelming, and she received lots of very positive messages.
The Book of Hope is available in PDF form as a free download and can be found on the National Literacy Trust website. The book has been dedicated to the carers, nurses and doctors and other hospital workers who are working hard to protect the nation.
Digital Archive Launched by Keats-Shelley House
The Keats-Shelley House Museum and Library which is located in Rome has recently launched its digital collection. This is a new initiative which includes the art and manuscripts that celebrate the works and lives of Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats two of the Romantic poets.
The timing of the launch is important as it coincides with the start of a three-year programme of exhibitions and events both in the UK and Italy. The event is called Keats-Shelley 200 and will look at the extraordinary work of both men.
It will be the very first time that the rather significant collection from the museum, which contains around 400 autograph manuscripts, artefacts linked to the poets and works of art will be available for everyone to enjoy online.
One of the highlights of the collection is a series of letters written by John Keats which discuss some of the key moments of his life as well as looking at his admiration for fellow poet, William Wordsworth.
There is also a letter which records the last spoken words of Keats, written in February 1821.