Lorde’s Chair/Poet’s Blue Plaque/Schoolboy’s Poet Goes Viral – Poetry News Roundup November 5th

Today in our poetry news round-up we look at the university chair to be named after the poet Audre Lorde. We also have an article about a poet honoured with a blue plaque and a poem by a schoolboy that has gone viral.

First Queer Studies Chair Created at Spelman College

Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, a liberal arts women’s college, has become the first historically Black higher education establishment to create a chair in what it is calling Queer Studies.

The chair is to be named after Audre Lorde, the civil rights activist and poet, and it will be partially funded, up to $2 million with a gift from Jon Stryker the philanthropist.

Lorde is predominately known for his works which looked at the topics of race, gender, sexuality, disease, class, parenting, the arts and resistance. Stryker is the president and founder of Arcus Foundation. The foundation is a private organisation which offers global grants to support improvements in the field of LGBTQ human rights.

The press release relating to the news states that the purpose of the new chair is to “engage and empower” future generations of advocates for the rights of the LGBTQ community, alongside the Comparative Women’s Studies Program which has been running at Spelman for quite a while.

The new chair will help to increase the understanding that the students have around gender and sexuality.

Mexborough Honours Poet

This week has seen the unveiling of two new heritage plaques in the town of Mexborough, Yorkshire.

Harold Massingham, who died in 2011 at the age of 79 was one of the most well-respected poets of his generation. He had a long career as a poet with many awards along the way. He was commemorated with a blue plaque which was attached to an outside wall of the grammar school where he was a pupil during the 1940s. It was also during his time at the school that he penned his first poem.

The second plaque was dedicated to a Lt-Cmdr who visited Mexborough to promote warships week in 1942 and managed to help raise £63,000 which was used to restore a gunship that had been damaged. The boat had been damaged during WW1 but it wasn’t until WW2 that the money was raised. It was done solely by Mexborough and the sum at that time would have been a huge undertaking to raise.

Teenagers Poem Goes Viral

A teenager in the UK has had a rather humbling experience when a poem he wrote for Remembrance Day went viral

Joshua Dyer who is just 14 years of age has only recently begun to written poetry, it was something he really used to hate doing. The poem which is 24 lines long took him around 40 minutes. It was written at the request of his school who were looking for a verse to go with the hymn “On The Road To Passchendaele”.

The poem “One Thousand Men Are Walking” has been shared over 69,000 on Facebook and Joshua has even received a letter from the office of Prince Philip thanking him for writing the poem.

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