Spanish Literary Prize/Poetry Display/UK Laureate – Poetry News Roundup November 20th

Today”s poetry new round up looks at Spain”s top literary prize, the poetry on display at the Storyhouse in Chester and the discussions surrounding the possible candidates for the position of UK poet laureate.

Top Literary Prize in Spain Awarded to 95-Year-Old Poet

Ida Vitale, a 95-year-old poet, has become the fifth woman to be awarded the top literary prize in Spain. Ida who is originally from Uruguay is the very last surviving member of “Generation of 45”.

The Miguel de Cervantes Prize was named in 1975 for the famous author who wrote the novel Don Quixote. It is now considered to be the most prestigious prize awarded for literature in the Spanish Language. It is also the one with the largest prize.

The prize was awarded to Vitale, who now lives in America, for her translations, literary criticisms and her poetry. The jury felt that her use of language had create some of the ‘most remarkable and well-known in Spanish poetry’.

This is the fifth time that a woman has received the award.

Storyhouse Chester Celebrates New Works by Lemm Sissay

The Storyhouse in Chester has been turned into a poetry book by Lemm Sissay, the British author and broadcaster. Sissay is the artist in residence at the Storyhouse until 1st December, when Chester’s Literature Festival finishes.

The poems, which are part of his brand-new collection, Morning Tweets, have been emblazoned on the walls of the venue as part of the festival. Some of his poetry can also be seen on the buildings at the Olympic Park and The Royal Festival Hall.

The walls, floors, windows and balconies of the Storyhouse have been covered with gigantic poster sized poems. They are in the restaurant library and even the toilets. All the poetry can be seen for free and there is no need to book.

Palace Indicate They May be Looking for Non-white Poet

As the search continues for the next poet laureate of the UK, it has been indicated by Buckingham Place, according to a source in Whitehall, that a poet who is black or minority ethnic would be their choice for the post. They would be very keen on a candidate who is in some way connected to the Commonwealth.

The position, which is 350 years old, and began in 1668, has always been given to a white man. The appointment of Carol Ann Duffy, the current poet laureate nearly 10 years ago broke than mould. The appointment of a BME poet would be a very significant move.

Benjamin Zephaniah, a favourite for the role, has already been very vocal in his rejection of any possibility of taking up the post and this news doesn’t bode well for Simon Armitage, an Oxford University professor of poetry who has made no secret of his hope to take up the role. He was born near Huddersfield and is white.

Daljit Nagra is now seen as one of the frontrunners in the position. Other possibles are Imtiaz Dharker, the Cambridge University Library former poet-in-residence, and Forward poetry prize winner Vahni Capildeo. Capildeo is a cousin of the late VS Naipul.

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