New US National Laureate/Francisco Brines’ Passing/Dante’s Tomb Readings – Poetry News Roundup May 24th

In today’s poetry news round-up we look at the new National Youth Poet Laureate in America, the Cervantes Literature winner who has passed away and the poetry reading for Dante.

New National Youth Poet Laureate

The new National Youth Poet Laureate in the US has been announced as Alexandra Huynh. The 18-year-old is a first-year student at the University of Stanford. She is a second-generation Vietnamese American and will be the second Youth Poet Laureate to have held the post. The outgoing Youth Poet Laureate is of course Amanda Gorman who shot to fame following her appearance as President Joe Bidens Inauguration poet.

The announcement that Huynh had been appointed to the position was made on Thursday as part of a virtual ceremony that took place at the Kennedy Centre. As part of the role, the poet will visit students and hold workshops all over the US and pass on her own experiences with poetry to others. Huynh was selected from a shortlist of four regional finalists for the position.

Huynh is a big fan of her predecessor and says that Gorman’s performances both at the Inauguration and then later the Super Bowl, have inspired her to “dream Big”.

As a poet she has been interested in poetry since she started high school, has taken part in local poetry slams and is hoping that one day she will be able to publish her own book of poetry and see it translated into her “mother tongue” Vietnamese. Her favourite writers include Diana Khoi Nguyen and Ocean Vuong.

Whilst many students and aspiring poets choose to study literature at University, Huynh has instead chosen engineering. She says that Vietnamese is a rather poetic language and as such the culture is such that poems are used in everyday life, poetry has always been a part of her life and is very natural to her so she felt it was important to study something that will challenge her and the way that she thinks.

Francisco Brines Dies Aged 89

Last week we brought you the news of the winner of this years Cervantes Prize for Literature Francisco Brines. Just a few days after he was presented with his award, the poet passed away at the age of 89.

The award was given in person by the King and Queen who visited the poet at his home as he had been unable to travel due to ill health. Unfortunately, the day after the visit he was admitted to the hospital for an emergency operation and although he was in a stable condition after the operation, his condition deteriorated, and he died a few hours later.

Readings at Dante’s Tomb

As an ongoing part of the celebrations to mark the 700th anniversary of the death of the poet Dante Alighieri a local poet, Giuliana Turati is reading a single canton a day from The Divine Comedy, in front of the poet’s tomb.

Turati started her readings in September as a way of sharing the poets work with the people passing by. Near to the tomb, there are copies of the poets work in 60 different languages and it is hoped that once the restrictions of the pandemic lift visitors will be able to read the works in their own language.

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