Royal Wedding Poem/Leonard Cohen – Poetry News Roundup May 7th

We begin the week here at My Poetic Side with a look at the possibility of a poem for the Royal Wedding. We also take a look at the art exhibit that takes the poetry of Leonard Cohen and produces “Music”.

Royal Wedding Poem

In 2009 Carol Ann Duffy accepted the role of British Poet Laureate, a role that is for life unlike in other countries where it carries a set term. Whilst there are no specific requirements from the poet laureate during there tenure it seems to be an unwritten rule that royal occasions require a poem.

Former poet laureate Andrew Motion, who retired from the post in 2009 having held it for 10 years (a condition he made part of his acceptance of the post) wrote a total of eight works that covered a number of royal events including the death of both Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother to the marriage of Prince Edward. His predecessor, Ted Hughes, who held the post from 1984 until his death in 1998 wrote a great deal more, but he was friends with Prince Charles and went fishing with the Queen Mother.

Duffy wrote a poem for the 2011 wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton but it would appear that, as yet, there is no poem in the offing for the imminent wedding of Prince Harry to Megan Markle – the wedding is to take place on 19thMay, so time is running out.

In fact, Duffy has only written two royal poems since she took up the position the other was written in 2013 for the 60thAnniversary of the Queen’s coronation and was titled “The Crown”.

A British Newspaper is offering its reader the chance to submit their own verse about the royal wedding. The editor will choose the winning entry which will then receive the glory of being printed in the newspaper the day after the wedding.

Late Singers Work Brought to Life by “Poetry Machine”

The Fraenkel Gallery is currently running an exhibition of works by two artists who are well known for their romantic application of cold technology; Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. The poetry Machine is exactly that, located in a small darkened room at the gallery is a small rather unassuming organ surrounded by around 30 speakers.

The musical notes have been replaced with short recordings of the late Leonard Cohen. Each key plays a different recording, pressing the keys for longer results in the recording playing for longer. Multiple keys being “played” at the same time results in a creation of overlapping sounds – a sort of chord of text. All of the recordings are read by Cohen from his 2006 collection “Book of Longing”.

Completed just last year the “Poetry Machine” is a collaboration that the artists had been discussing with Cohen before he died, they had been hoping to persuade him to record something specifically tailored to the project. He died before they could complete their discussions but a tape of him reading turned up some time later and the project became a joint work “posthumously”.

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