UN Postage Stamps/Poetry on the Sidewalk – Poetry News Roundup May 22nd

In today’s poetry news roundup, we take a look at the United Nations stamps commemorating a poet and the poetry on the sidewalks of Edmonton.

United Nations Postage Stamps

On 26th May the United Nations Postal Administration will be issuing a stunning pane of 10 stamps and 10 labels. The set will be created in honour of the national poet of Georgia, Shota Rustaveli.

The 26th May is the day that Georgians celebrate their independence; the Democratic Republic of Georgia was created on 26th May 1918. The inscription that will feature in the upper left corner of the pane will show that the stamps commemorate the 850th anniversary of the poet who is perhaps best known for “A Knight in Panther’s Skin” his epic 12th-century poet.

The stamps which depict the U.N emblem in blue and have the year 2018 in the upper right-hand corner show five scenes from the poem, there is also an image of the poet in the selvage of the stamp pane. They are all 80 cent stamps and will be used by the U.N office which is located at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria.

Relatively little is in fact known about the poet, including his date of birth, some records suggest that he was born in 1160 and others as late as 1172. 2016 and 2017 both saw events taking place to celebrate his 850th anniversary! The 2016 symposium was also a commemoration of the 450th death anniversary of William Shakespeare.

The British council suggested that the poet made interesting reading, his works appealed to people of all nationalities and contained many eternal ideas and humanism, even going as far as to suggest that his work was similar to that of Homer, Shakespeare and Dante.

Poetry on the Sidewalk

The sidewalks of Edmonton have become the place to see poetry. Around 80 poems have been sandblasted into the sidewalks that surround the ravine lining the meadows community that is found in the southeast of the city. These will be a permanent fixture.

One of the poems tells of the longing of the poet Raminder Dhindsa to belong, she was born in India but move to Canada just 10 years ago with her husband and two children.

The idea of sandblasting poetry into the sidewalk surfaces was first brought up by two artists who approached the then president of the Meadows Community League in 2014. The project took shape and four phases and four years later it was finally completed just two weeks ago. Thousands of poems were submitted to the project making it a long and difficult process for the judges to choose the ones that they felt were best for the project.

In the short time since they have been unveiled the poems have become a real talking point with complete strangers stopping to discuss the poems with each other.

The poems are spaced out so that there is one etched every ten sidewalk tiles or so, and they stretch for hundreds of meters through the whole community.

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