Dylan Thomas Play/Frank O’Hara Poetry Prize / Keats Bust / World Record – Poetry News Roundup May 15th

Today in our poetry news round up, we look at a play about Dylan Thomas, the Frank O’Hara poetry prize winner, a bust for Keats and a world record poetry attempt.

New York Premiers Play About Poet Dylan Thomas

A specially commissioned play, written by the Welsh writer Christopher Monger, premiered in New York on 14th May  at 92nd Street.

The play, which is titled “Dear Mr Thomas: A New Play For Voices”  is all about the life and work of the poet Dylan Thomas during the creation of “Under Milk Wood”. It’s timing is perfect for the moment given the recent mentions of the poet in Taylor Swift’s new album, which has led to a surge of interest in the poet.

The 92NY is a particularly significant location for the performance. Not only is it celebrating its 15th anniversary this year but it is also the venue where the first performance of “Under Milk Wood” took place on 14th May 1953.

The play takes a look at how Thomas strived to stay committed to his poetry whilst there was chaos going on all around him. It looks not only at “Under Milk Wood” but also those who were involved in that first production.

Frank O’Hara Prize Winner Announced

Paul Szlosek, a Worcester poet, has been announced as this year’s winner of the annual poetry competition, which is run in conjunction with the Worcester County Poetry Association.

The winning poem was “Neither In Nor Out”. There were over 80 entries for the competition this year.

Szlosek is a local poet and was a 2023 winner of the Stanley Kunitz Medal, which was also presented by the Worcester County Poetry Association.

The poetry prize is named after the 20th-century poet and artist Frank O’Hara, who grew up in Grafton. The winning poems will be printed in The Worcester Review and there will be a reading and a reception which will be held in September.

Shabby Lawn to be Updated with Bust of Poet

The somewhat shabby lawn just outside the Moorgate tube station in London is to be given a makeover. The lawn will be replaced with several raised flower beds and a bust of the poet John Keats, which will commemorate the poet’s work and birthplace.

The lawn was put in place during the 2004 development of nearby Moor House office. It was intended to be a temporary installation. However, no plans have been previously made to change it.

The plans for the regeneration of the area include benches and more permeable paving. The bust of Keats is a bronze that was created by Martin Jenkins. It is hoped that work in the area will begin in the autumn and will help to create a fitting reminder of the poet, who had significant links to the area.

Poetry Festival Plans World Record Attempt

The Nottingham Poetry Festival (7-16 June) will be celebrating the life of the late Benjamin Zephaniah this year.

They are also hoping to break the world record for the longest street poem in the world, and those who attend are asked to pick up some chalk and add a line during an event on 15th June.

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