Poet’s Farmhouse Saved/Mahmoud Darwish Insight/Czech Poet Honoured – Poetry News Roundup September 14th

We begin another week of poetry news with a look at the farmhouse with poetry connections that has been saved, the new insights into Mahmoud Darwish and the street named in honour of a poet.

265 Years of History, A Farmhouse Saved

Last month, the Princeton Planning Board (PPB) gave their approval to a minor subdivision plan for Red Farmhouse, the property at 145 Ewing Street. It was not only a victory for the owner but also for those residents who had spoken out about historic preservation.

The property was built in 1755 and added to in 1830. It has a rich history. From 1956 to the mid-1970s it was the home of the novelist Caroline Gordon. Her husband the poet Allen Tate lived there with her until they divorced in 1959. He was a frequent visitor after the divorce together with other celebrity visitors including Walker Percy, Ernest Hemingway, and William Faulkner.

Whilst it has never been confirmed officially, it is believed that Thomas Jefferson may also have visited the property in 1783.

The house was purchased by the current owner in 2018 with the idea of possibly knocking it down and rebuilding. Despite there being a bicentennial plaque on the property, it does not have any protection or official historical status. The neighbours made enquiries and a campaign to save the house took shape.

The council worked with the owner to develop new plans for the house which will see it being saved as part of a duplex. The farmhouse will be preserved and the historical value that it adds to the area will not be lost.

English Speaking Audience Given New Insight into Mahmoud Darwish

Mahmoud Darwish is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest 20th-century poets of the English Language. Now he is the focus of the book Palestine as Metaphor. The book which has been written by Dr Amira El-Zein the Arabic professor at QF partner Georgetown University in Qatar. The book contains several collected interviews that have been carefully translated from Arabic into English.

There are 5 interviews in total in the book, all of which were carried out with Darwish before he died in 2008. This is the first time that they have ever appeared in print in English. Dr El-Zein believes that they offer a new understanding of Darwish both as a poet and a symbol for Palestine.

Dr El-Zein has focused her academic research on the man she refers to as a friend. The interviews have already been printed in French, but she wanted to see them translated and published in English.

Forgotten Czech Poet Honoured with Road in Ipswich

A new road in Ipswich has been named in honour of Ivan Blatny, a “forgotten” Czech poet. He was a well-regarded poet in Czechoslovakia following the war and played his part in a cultural delegation to the UK in 1948 when his home country was seized by the Communists.

He remained in the UK, but his health deteriorated. His work fell out of favour because of the Communist power and he was assumed to be dead.

The Communist regime fell in 1989 and just one year later Blatny died in Ipswich. The road is being named in his honour in the country that he adopted as his home in later life.

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