Poet’s Daughter Shortlisted/Sassoon Poem Discovered – Poetry News Roundup November 6th

Today on My Poetic side we take a look at some of the possible faces for the new £50 note. We also take a look at the previously unknown poem by Siegfried Sassoon that has been made public over 50 years since his death.

The Possible Face of the New £50 Note

The North East Mathematician Ada Lovelace who has been described as the first computer programmer is one of the names being considered to feature on the new polymer £50 note.

Professor Stephen Hawking and Dorothy Hodgkin, the one female of British descent to win a Nobel prize for science are also in the running. The list of possible names will be open to public vote from Friday this week.

Countess Augusta Ada Lovelace was born in 1815 in Durham and is the daughter of Lord Byron, the legendary romantic poet. She did not follow in her father’s footsteps, choosing instead the field of maths. It was Lovelace who developed a programme for the Analytical engine, a mechanical general-purpose computer, designed by Charles Babbage, a friend of her fathers.

October 9th marks Ada Lovelace Day, a celebration of Lovelace’s life that is held every year. The public voting will be open for six weeks and the final selection will be announced in 2019, it is not yet known when the new note will be expected to roll-out. The £50 is the final note to get a makeover in the move from paper to polymer.

The person who will eventually be chosen to grace the new note will come from the field of science and will be no longer living.

Unknown Siegfried Sassoon Poem Discovered after 50 Years

A previously unknown poem by the War Poet Siegfried Sassoon has been discovered more than 50 years after the poet’s death.

The poem was given to Virginia Palmer, who, as a 16 year-old-pupil, met the poet when her class where taken to visit him at his home for a poetry reading by Mother Margaret Mary McFarlin. This lady had been a spiritual mentor to the poet, when he converted to Catholicism.

The schoolgirl fell ill shortly after the trip, and Sassoon, hearing that she was in the sick-bay of the school, asked Mother Margaret to pass the poem to her.

The poem, which is typed on a single sheet, is called “Intellect & Intuition”. It is dated October 4th, 1964 and signed by the poet.

Palmer has only recently discovered that this poem by Sassoon has never been published, and in the run up to Armistice Day felt that this was a very appropriate time to share it. The poem has been confirmed by experts as being genuine, and is of significant interest to the literary community.

When she was younger, Palmer didn’t really understand the poem finding saying it “was beyond and above me”. The title in particular made her feel that this was rather a heavy poem, but as she has got older she now feels she understands exactly what Sassoon was getting at.

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