Cervantes Prize Winner Named/Scots Poet Honoured/Tribute To Niall McDevitt – Poetry News Roundup November 14th

We begin another week here on My Poetic Side with a look at the winner of the Cervantes Prize, a Blue plaque for an Ulster Scots poet, and finally, the poet who will be honoured during the Irish Writers weekend.

2022 Winner of Cervantes Prize Named

The Venezuelan poet Rafael Cadenas has been named this year’s winner of the Cervantes Prize, the highest literary award given in the Spanish-speaking world.

Cadeanas, who is 92 years old, has written and published over 20 works, including essays and poetry. These include a number of volumes of verse and his most recent work, Contestaciones (Answers), which was published in 2018.

He was announced as the winner on 10th November by the Spanish Culture Minister and follows in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Christina Peri Rossi, a poet from Uruguay.

Until recently, the award, which has a monetary value of €125,000, had alternated between Latin American and Spanish writers.

The prize ceremony will take place on 23rd April, the date that marks the anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of “Don Quixote” after whom the award is named. King Felipe VI will attend the ceremony.

Ulster Scots Strabane Poet to be Honoured With Blue Plaque

Derry City and Strabane Council have given their approval to the Ulster History Circle to place a blue plaque on the front of the Alley Arts centre in order to commemorate the work of William Starrat.

A schoolmaster from Strabane, William Starrat penned what is believed to be the earliest Ulster Scots poem in around 1722.

It is believed that Starrat wrote six Scotch Poems. These were published in 1753 in the Ulster Miscellany and are considered to be the first Ulster-Scots printed poetry examples.

Tribute Paid to Niall McDevitt During Irish Writers Weekend

During the two-day Irish Writers festival, which will take place at the British Library from 26th to 27th November, homage will be paid to the late Niall McDevitt. The poet, who died in September at the age of 55, had been ill with cancer, and his latest collection, London Nation, was returned from the printers the day he died, just in time for him to be able to hold a copy.

As part of the festival, some of his work will be read out loud by several other poets and also his son. The book will be published posthumously by New River Press on 16th November.

The collection is described by the publisher as being full of occultist, dissenting poems that take on a number of themes to show a “linguistic shapeshifter” along the lines of the works of James Joyce – his main inspirations, however, were William Shakespeare, WB Yeats and William Blake.

McDevitt’s poetry was admired by the likes of John Cooper Clarke – the punk poet Patti Smith and Yoko Ono. In addition to London Nation, McDevitt also wrote b/w, Porterloo and Firing Slits; A Jerusalem Colportage. He was the International Times poetry editor.

McDevitt was passionate about poetry and poets. He lent his voice to the project to save the London home of Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud and also helped to save the land around the grave of the poet William Blake.

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