National Book Awards Longlist/Survey on Poetry/Poetic Inspiration for Sewage Plant – Poetry News Roundup September 14th

Our final news round-up of the week looks at the long list for the National Book Awards in Poetry, a survey on poetry reading figures and the unusual inspiration for a sewage plant design.

2018 National Book Awards in Poetry

This week sees the announcing of the longlists for the 2018 National Book Awards. There are awards given for books in the following categories; Young People’s Literature, Translated Literature, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry

Terrance Hayes, the only previous winner in the list, has been nominated for this most recent collection of poetry “American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin”. Hayes wrote the first poem in the collection that day after the election in 2016. In total there are seventy sonnets in the book which has been described as a “diary of survival during a period when black men are in constant danger.”

Pulitzer Prize winners Rae Armantrout and Natasha Trethewey are also amongst those shortlisted. Armantrout, who was a finalist in 2009, for her collection “Wobble” and Trethewey for “Monument, Poems New and Selected”. Of the other poets longlisted 8 are first-time nominees and 3 of collections up for the award are debut collections.

On October 10ththe shortlist will be announced from these nominations and the winners will be announced on 14 November at a benefit dinner.

Poetry Reading on the Up

Recently released studies have shown that the percentage of adults who are now reading poetry has risen dramatically in the five-year period from 2012 to 2017; 76 percent to be exact. The study was compiled by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and claimed that in 2017 a staggering 28 million adults were reading poetry. During the same period, the percentage of 18-24-year olds doubled.

This news comes at a time when many complain that the rise of Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are leading to the “death of civilisation”. Many of these younger poetry readers have come across the likes of Rupi Kaur, the Canadian poet who has amassed a staggering 3 million Instagram followers. Her first published book “Milk and Honey” which was published in 2015 has sold around 2 million copies a feat that is previously unheard of.

Whilst it is true that social media has proved to be a very popular way to share poetry and has been very successful for more than one poet. The big question is can that popularity continue at the rate it has been, or will it be like every other trend that has taken over the internet just the flavour of the month, something that will be gone before we know it?

Poetry Inspires Sewage Plant Design

A sewage treatment plan in Taoyuan, Taiwan owes the inspiration for its design to the Chinese poet Tao Yuanming. In 421 CE he wrote the poem “Peach Blossom Spring” which made mention of the mountainous landscape of the area; a hidden utopia within the mountains where people and nature lived in harmony.

The architects say the inspiration came to them because like the tale in the poem the sewage treatment plant is a centre that purifies and cleanses water and the images from the poem portrayed that perfectly.

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