Hedd Wyn Restoration/Nikki Giovanni Honoured – Poetry News Roundup May 23rd

Today on My Poetic Side, we have two news articles for you. The first looks at the restoration of the home of the poet Hedd Wyn and the second a new marker honouring Nikki Giovanni.

Restoration of Poets Home Named as One of Greatest Renovations in Europe

The three-bedroom farmhouse that is located in Snowdonia and was once home to the poet Hedd Wyn, has been named as one of Europe’s greatest renovations. The farmhouse is ranked alongside the restoration of the chapel which houses the Turin shroud. 

The farmhouse, Yr Ysgwrn, is situated in the rural village of Trawsfynydd in Snowdonia has been restored in such a way that it appears almost frozen in time to World War One when the poet was killed.

The farmhouse is home to the Black Cha. This was awarded posthumously to the poet at the 1917 National Eisteddfod and is known as the Bard’s Chair. It has since become the symbol of loss for a complete generation of young men who went to war and did not return.

The house is now open to the public, and it is hoped will help to preserve the memory of Hedd Wyn. It had been open to the public before the restoration, and his family always welcomed visitors; however, it was in a state of slow deterioration and the Snowdonia National Park Authority purchase it in 2012.

In the time since the purchase took place, they have been in involved in the painstaking task of restoring the farmhouse and its outbuildings as part of a project costing £3million. Now the site is not only home to the original farmhouse but also an international visitor centre, and also a memorial to all the Welsh people who lost their lives in the war.

Thanks to help that they have received from Gerald Williams, Hedd Wyn’s nephew, the farmland has also been brought back to life, and the landscape has been replanted.

Hedd Wyn was the poet’s bardic name which he took up in 1910. He was born Ellis Humphrey Evans in 1887.

Nikki Giovanni Honoured with New Marker

A new marker that honours Nikki Giovanni, the famed Knoxville poet, has been installed. This is not only a celebration of herself, but also a recognition that the urban renewal project that took place in the mid-century was devastating for black families.

Giovanni, who was a voice of the civil rights movement who were instrumental in bringing nationwide attention to the impact that Knoxville’s decision to knock down parts of the African American neighbourhood had, will be at the unveiling where she will read her poem “Knoxville, Tennessee”. The unveiling will take place this morning at 10am.

This new historical marker has been placed at the entrance of the Cal Johnson Recreation Center and is near to where the poet spent many summers with her grandparents. This is an altogether more prominent location for the marker. The nearby Cal Johnson park is the last reminder of the neighbourhood that was lost to make way for apartments and roads.

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