Rosen’s Special Performances/Chile Poet Cancelled? – Poetry News Roundup October 19th

Today in our poetry news roundup, we look at the poet helping with the Essex year of reading and the growing movement against the poet Pablo Neruda.

Essex Year of Reading

The former children’s laureate and beloved children’s author Michael Rosen has been grabbing the attention of a group of schoolchildren in Basildon with a series of special poetry performances. 

The interactive sessions were held at the Towngate Theatre, which is in Basildon, with the aim of inspiring a lifelong love for reading and poetry in young children. Michael Rosen has been writing children’s books and poetry for many years with titles like “Fluff the Farting Fish”, “We’re Going on A Bear Hunt”, and “Quick Let’s Get Out of Here”. Rosen takes his role as an educator very seriously; he was a schoolteacher before becoming a university lecturer – a role that he combines with his writing. The opportunity to help make words come alive and potentially inspire youngsters is one he welcomes.

In addition to listening to the performance, the children who attended were given the opportunity to meet with Rosen and also to get a copy of one of his books signed. 

Feminists Say That Chile’s Greatest Poet is Cancelled

The Pablo Neruda Museum, based in one of the homes of the former poet, still attracts a steady stream of visitors, but there is a high likelihood that this will not continue. There have been a number of denunciations again the poet recently. 

Neruda, who died at 49 was widely considered to have been the greatest poet ever produced by Chile. He is buried at the property where the museum is located. He has always been seen as something of a polarizing figure within the country thanks to his politics which were rather left-wing. Now, however, his reputation is facing another challenge. There are a growing number of feminists in Chile who are campaigning against his character as a sexual predator and a male chauvinist. Members of the Feminist Lawyers Society in the country say, “He’s been cancelled”. 

The rise of the #MeToo movement in Chile has singled out some of the verses in his poetry which are sexist and are bringing attention to a number of incidents that happened in his past. 

Whilst there was little acknowledgement of these admissions when they was made, the disdain for the poet has been increasing over the last couple of years. Booksellers are being told not to buy Neruda’s books, graffiti has appeared on the walls of the museum, and some of the universities and high schools in the country are reducing their interactions with the poet’s work or removing him from the teaching materials completely. 

In 2018 there were plans to rename the main international airport in Chile after the poet, however, these were scrapped as a result of the significant opposition the suggestion received.

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