Kundiman Prize/Cheltenham Literary Festival/Poet’s Fury on Poem Change/National Book Awards – Poetry News Roundup October 11th

Today’s poetry round-up takes a look at the winner of this years Kundiman Poetry Prize, the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the Sikh poet whose poem was changed without her permission and finally the finalists for this year’s National Book Awards.

Kundiman Poetry Prize Winner 2018

Rohan Chhetri, a Nepali-Indian poet, has won the Kundiman Poetry Prize – a prestigious US poetry award. The award has been given for “lost, hurt or in transit beautiful”, his in-progress manuscript.

Chhetri has recently moved to the US from India and is currently in a PhD program. His poetry style is more about form, allegory and poetic tradition, and he was also recently awarded a second prize in the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize for one of the long poems from his book. This was written using some parts of the lament tradition from ancient Greek.

Cheltenham Literature Festival

This year’s Literature Festival in Cheltenham will play host to the “All Star” poetry slam. The event, which will take place today, will see UK poetry slam participants in competition to create new champions whilst promoting the greatest examples of Spoken Word.

Up for grabs are 5 places in this years National Slam Final, which will take place later this year at the Royal Albert Hall

White Feminists Called Out by Sikh Poet

Jasmin Kaur has spoken out after a changed version of her poem was used following the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in the US.

Her original poem was all about the voice of Sikh women and the silencing of that voice. The poem begins with just one word “Scream”, but this was changed to “Vote” by a number of people. The poem, which was changed without her permission, was quick to go viral and Kaur was driven to respond.

Kaur took to Instagram and posted the following message together with a screenshot of the poem, with the alteration ‘stop passively consuming the work of women of colour’. The edit was uploaded by one of her fans to Facebook, where it was shared over 18,000 times.

Since the post on Facebook the poet confirmed that she had received many messages from women apologising for sharing her poem in this way and asking I they could donate money to a cause. She has directed then to an NGO, Ensaaf, who strive to end crimes against humanity in the Punjab.

National Book Awards Finalists

The finalists for this years National Book awards, all 25 of them, have been announced and the list is very varied. There are some writers who have been on the finalist listings before – Terrance Hayes who in 2010 won the poetry award and Lauren Groff, the 2015 shortlisted fiction writer – and plenty of newcomers.

This year is the first time in several decades that the list has also included a category for translated literature. The last time this appeared was 1983. This year also marked the fifth year that a long list of finalists was released before the finalist list. The winner for this year’s prizes will be announced on 14th November at the 69th National Book Awards ceremony.

This year’s poetry finalists are Rae Armantrout, Terrance Hayes, Diana Khoi Nguyen, Justin Phillip Reed and Jenny Xie.

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