$1m Endowment to UTC Poetry/Mary Symon Honoured – Poetry News Roundup May 31st

Our final news roundup of the week takes a look at the $1 million endowment to the UTC poetry program. We also take a look at the plaque honouring the poet Mary Symon.

The Kennedy Foundation Gives $1 Million Endowment to UTC Poetry Program

$1 million has been pledged to the University of Chattanooga Foundation by The Kennedy Foundation. The money is to benefit students who are studying poetry at UTC. It will fund scholarships and also endow a professorship for the teaching of poetry.

The donation has been made by the president of the foundation Jim D. Kennedy Jr, in honour of his late wife. Dorothy Hellerstedt Kennedy was an active poet and a graduate from UTC.

The head of the English department said that the gift was “utterly transformative” and will allow them to do all sorts of things they never believed would have been possible. Scholarships will make it easier for them to recruit new students.

Doric Poet to be Honoured with Plaque

Although she wrote about war, the words of the poet Mary Symon are not nearly as well known as the work written by Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.

She created verse that was poignant and shone a very gentle light on the horror that was war, as well as the awful impact that it had on those who had remained behind at home. She wrote about the tragedy and loss that they suffered and the devastation that was felt by families in the North-East.

Her poems are written in Scots. However, at the time, they were overshadowed by the provocative and powerful words of those poets who had served at the front and were inspired to write by what they had taken part in and witnessed.

Today her contribution is helping to understand how in the rural communities of Scotland they felt about war. Her poems give a unique female perspective, and this is to be celebrated with a plaque that will recognise all of her work.

The plaque is the latest to be approved by the National Commemorative Plaque Scheme which is run by Historic Environment Scotland. It will be the latest in a long line of plaques all over the country that honour the war poets.

There are already plaques to Owen and Sassoon. The poet Captain Charles Hamilton Sorley will also be honoured with a plaque.

The plaque dedicated to Symon will be located at the clock tower in Dufftown, which is not far from her former home and overlooks the streets where local people signed up and marched to war.

The hope is that eventually, the plaques will form a trail which will be a compliment to the Edinburgh Napier University online Scottish War poets map.

Symons poetry brought home a very different story about the impact of war. Her poem “The Soldiers’ Cairn was inspired by the impact that she saw occurring in the rural communities of Scotland around her. This is an impact that was just as strong as that felt by the poetry of the trenches.

You must register to comment. Log in or Register.