Fellowship Winners, Literary Peace Prize/GCSE and Poetry – Poetry News Roundup September 15th

Today we bring you news about the 2020 winners of the Dorothy Sargent Rosenburg and Ruth Lilly and Poetry Fellowships and the 2020 Dayton Literary Peace Prize. We also look at the u-turn which means poetry will be included in the GCSEs for 2021.

Ruth Lilly and  Rosenberg Fellowship Winners Announced for 2020

(PRNewsfoto/Poetry Foundation)

The Poetry Foundation and the Poetry Magazine have announced their 2020 winners of both the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg and Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships.

The prize is awarded to outstanding young poets in order to offer them help in the early parts of their careers and to help them with further study including poetry writing in the form of their choice. Each of the named poets is awarded $25,800. The fellowships are some of the most prestigious and largest that are available in the United States.

This year there are five young poets who have been selected to receive the fellowships. They include Isabella Borgeson who was a 2018 finalist in the Best New Poets award and was the 2019 AIR Serenbe Spoken Word Artist, Cyree Jarelle Johnson who was the winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry in 2020, Darius Simpson, a finalist in the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and Khaty Xiong, the poet responsible for the first collection published by a Hmong American female in the United States.

The fellowship program was established by Ruth Lilly in 1989 and has expanded in the years since.

The five winners were selected from a shortlist of seventeen finalists.

2020 Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Canadian poet and author Margaret Atwood has been named as the Dayton Literary Peace Prize lifetime achievement award winner for 2020. The award celebrates those who use literature to help foster peace, social justice and global understanding.

Atwood is a prolific writer of nonfiction, fiction, poetry and even comic books. Her popularity has increased in recent years with the televising of her 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. She published her first book of poetry in 1961.

GCSE Poetry Decision Made

Those GCSE students currently in year 11 and their teachers have been informed that Britain’s largest exam board has decided that poetry will be included on the test papers for summer 2021.

The news has been met with anger by a number of teachers who have accused the exam board o giving in to the demands of celebrity poets. Just last month Ofqual had stated that pupils would be allowed to drop poetry however this decision was changed at the beginning of this week when schools were told that poetry and also Shakespeare would be compulsory.

It had been hoped that poetry could be dropped due the length of time that students had not been able to prepare as a result of the lockdown which saw schools closed to in-person teaching for half the academic year.

The poet laureate Simon Armitage and Michael Rosen, the former children’s laureate were amongst those who claimed dropping poetry from the exams in this way was a slippery slope.

Many schools spent the summer revising their curriculum teaching plans to drop poetry, believing that Ofqual’s recommendations would be followed and will now have to make significant alterations to their teaching plans at a time when they are already incredibly stretched.

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