Heaney Readings/Hungarian Poet Honoured/First Edition Breaks Record – Poetry News Roundup September 20th

We begin the week with a look at the return of the Seamus Heaney Memorial Readings, the plaque to honour a Hungarian poet and the first edition with a poet’s preface which has fetched a record amount at auction.

Seamus Heaney Memorial Reading Returns

The Seamus Heaney Memorial Reading is set to return in person this Wednesday. The event will take place to honour the Irish Nobel prize-winning poet who passed away in 2013.

The event began in 2014 but due to the pandemic lapsed last year. There will be a number of poets taking part in the live event which will not only include readings of Heaney’s poems but also poems written about the poet and dedicated to him, and even anecdotes about people’s meetings with Heaney. The works of Seamus Heaney are still incredibly popular, and it is likely that the event will attract a high turnout.

From 1981 to 1997 Heaney taught at Harvard, and from 1988 to 2006 he also served as their poet in residence. He received his Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995.

Literary Hungarian Icon Given Pride of Place in Welsh Town

The town of Montgomery in Powys received a gift a couple of years ago from Hungary in celebration of the poet Janos Arany on the occasion of his posthumous award of an Honorary Freemanship of the town.

The poet was asked to write a poem in 1857  in praise of the occasion of a visitor to the town, namely Franz Josef I. Instead, he chose to write an allegorical poem that was inspired by the imagined slaughter that took place during the tyrannical rule of Edward I of England. It is estimated that five hundred bards were slaughtered at Montgomery Castle, during a banquet when they refused to sing the praises of the King. The poem that Arany wrote is still learnt today in Hungary and it is believed that more Hungarian children know about the town of Montgomery than Cardiff.

Due to the pandemic, the unveiling of the plaque was delayed from 2020. However, it is now hoped that this will take place in May 2022 as a part of the Hungarian Day celebrations. The decision was made to erect the plaque last week so that it is in place for the future unveiling, and it has been placed in the community garden which is located at the foot of the path that leads to the castle.

Frankenstein First Edition Sells for Over $1million

A recent auction in New York has seen a special edition of Frankenstein selling for a record $1.17 million. The auction which was hosted by Christie’s had expected the book to go for between $200,000 and $300,000. However, it fetched a significant amount more making it the highest sale price for a book written by a woman.

The copy was one of just five hundred that were made in 1818 by Mary Shelley. The preface in the book was written by her husband the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.


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