Here at My Poetic Side, today’s news involves a poetry-inspired art exhibition and the new poetry prize inspired by Simon Armitage.
Artists Tribute to Poet
The artist James Robinson has taken the unusual step of opening up his home to the public in order to show off his latest work. The large mural is a tribute to the poet David Eggleton to celebrate the fact that he was awarded the post of New Zealand Poet Laureate. This will be a public show but in a personal space.
The piece that is likely to attract the most attention is the Edgeland Teleprompter incantation which measures 8 metres by 3.5 metres and is dedicated to the poet. This is not the first time that the pair have had an influence on each other’s work in 2003 Eggleton penned a number of sonnets in response to works by Robinson. Robinson’s work has also featured in the poet’s books.
They have both been admirers of each other’s work for a while, but this latest piece is something a little different. It contains words taken from Teleprompter, a work in which Eggleton tries to imagine himself channelling Millenium voices and also Edgeland, a book of poetry.
The artwork has been created on several panels of canvas; each one was created individually before they were glued and then sewn together. The work is reminiscent of one that Robinson received 2019’s People’s Choice Parkin Drawing Prize Award with – this is, however, the first time that he has displayed such a large mural, of his own creation, in his home.
Poet Laureate’s New Prize
Simon Armitage, the UK poet laureate, has created a new poetry prize for poetry with an environmental theme, using his laureate’s honorarium. He described the crisis with the climate as “background hum that will not go away”.
The prize which will be called the Laurel prize will be run in conjunction with Poetry School and will be awarded to the best collection of poetry that has nature and the environment at the centre of the work – the main aim will be to look at the challenges that face the planet.
The first prize is planned for the 23rd May and will be awarded at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. It will be judged by Armitage, fellow poet Moniza Alvi and Robert Macfarlane, the nature writer.
Armitage points out that whilst there has been an increase in nature writing on the non-fiction front, there has not been nearly as much poetry produced, despite the recent works of poets like Alice Oswald, Pascale Petit and John Burnside.
The poet Ted Hughes was sometimes seen as rather unfashionable for his writings about nature, but it was something he stuck with and to many, he was something of a campaigner on the subject, although on a much smaller scale.
There will be a first prize of £5000, second prize of £2000, and £1000 third prize. The Laurel is planned to run for at least the decade of Armitage’s time as laureate. During this first year, the prize will be awarded to works completed in the last 5 years, from next year they will look at the previous 12 months only.