Moby & Zephaniah Collaboration/ Rainbow Haikus / Betjeman Anniversary – Poetry News Roundup May 22nd

Today’s poetry news round up takes a look at a poet and songwriter collaboration, rainwater haikus and the 40th anniversary of the death of Sir John Betjeman.

Where Is Your Pride?

Benjamin ZephaniaThe musician and songwriter, Moby has released his latest track. Titled “Where Is Your Pride.”  The song is a powerful collaboration that features the words of the late poet and activist Benjamin Zephaniah.

Zephaniah, who was not just known for his poetry but also his acting and his activism, died in December. He was 65. He died following a short battle with a brain tumour that he had only been diagnosed with eight weeks previously.

The song showcases one of Zephaniah’s powerful spoken word performances with lines like

Sharing his thoughts on the collaboration, Moby Said


He also posted a video on Instagram that revealed that the pair had intended to release the track last year but then the poets health took the tragic turn of his sudden diagnosis and then his death.

The song will feature on the 22nd album that Moby has created. Titled “Always Centered At Night” it is due to be released on 14th June.

Sidewalk Haiku Project

This year, the summers in Pittsburgh might be a little brighter for those walking around the city. Mid-afternoon showers will reveal poetry that they can enjoy.

As part of their 50th year celebration, PA Humanities have created the Rain Poetry project which will take place in three different locations across the city. Local students have taken place in writing workshops and have created haiku poetry as part of the project. These haikus have now been painted onto the sidewalk using a special paint that appears when it rains.

The three-line poems, which are Japanese in origin have a  five-syllable first line, second line made up of seven syllables and a third line which is the same as the first in make-up. Each of the different sites that has been chosen for the haikus will feature work by different aged groups of children from different schools in the area. All of the poems have been painted onto clean cement that is relatively new. The paint does not work on asphalt, gravel or other types of materials. They are also in places where children are likely to play and in neighbourhoods where families live rather than in the business districts.

It is hoped that the poems will be around for between three to four months, after which the paint will naturally fade, and the poems will disappear as well.

Wantage Celebrate Former Poet Laureate

Sir John Betjeman lived in the area of Wantage from 1951 to 1972, during which time he was awarded a CBE and also made Poet Laureate.

The Betjeman Society, Wantage Branch organised a “Day to Remember” for Sir John at St Mary’s Convent on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his death, which fell on 19th May. There was a church service followed by a tour of the convent and a short poetry reading to mark the occasion.

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