BlakeFest Moves Online/Whale Day Publisher’s Pandemic Talks – Poetry News Roundup November 27th

In our final news round-up of the week, we take a look at this year’s BlakeFest and the latest poetry collection of the poet Billy Collins.

BlakeFest Moves Online

The 2020 Bognor BlakeFest will be launching online on 28th November just in time for the 263rd anniversary of the birth of the poet William Blake. This year, the organisers have promised that it will be a unique celebration of the life and works of the visionary poet. There will be over 100 artists taking part to ensure that it really is a spectacular event.

They have also confirmed that the material from BlakeFest 2020 will be kept permanently online at the festival’s website.

The organisers of the festival, which is now in its eighth year, realised early on in the year that the possibilities of holding a normal festival would be highly unlikely, and looked for ways in which they could meet the challenges that taking it online presented.

The festival has been funded by Let’s Create, the Arts Council for England. This funding has allowed the organisers to commission a number of projects during lockdown, which will be placed on the website. The website will also be home to a large archive, which it is hoped will eventually contain hundreds of photographs taken at performances and also artwork dating from 2014 – 2019.

The poet lived in Felpham for just three years, from 1800-1803. This was the only time in his life that he did not live in London. During his lifetime, he was a rather unrecognised poet. However, his popularity has much increased in the time since. BlakeFest was first put together in order to celebrate the fact that the poet has lived locally and also so that in the future, should it be needed, funds could be raised to preserve Blake’s Cottage for the future.

Billy Collins; The Importance of Doing Nothing

As his latest collection of poetry “Whale Day” is published the poet Billy Collins reflects on the last couple of months.

At the very beginning of the pandemic, the poet who is 79, began live-streaming on Facebook. He captivated his audiences with the reading of not only his own poetry but also the poems of other well-known poets. The idea behind his live streams was more to pass his own time rather than provide comfort, however, a huge crowd of fans began tunning in every day, and still do, delighted by the readings.

Collins who from 2001 to 2003 was the US poet laureate has long held the title of being a best-selling poet. His work is inspired by the domestic, the everyday and personal issues. His latest collection of poetry is his 14th to be published. In “Whale Day” he looks at the subject of mortality, however, there isn’t a hint of the morose about the contents. The poems are instead full of Collin’s own signature brand of humour coupled with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.

What started out as simply the poet’s need to fill his days with something during the beginning of the pandemic has led to another fantastic collection of poetry.



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