Museum Reopens/Statue Provokes Political Debate/Ripon Festival – Poetry News Roundup September 22nd

In today’s poetry news roundup we look at the reopening of a museum dedicated to the life of a poet, the statue which is a political hotspot and the Ripon Poetry Festival.

Hannah Senesh Museum Reopens

The newly renovated Hannah Senesh House which is located near Caesarea has recently reopened to the public. The museum offers the public the opportunity to discover the poet who was also a WWII hero.

Hungarian born Senesh was a writer, poet, and paratrooper. She was killed when she went from the Holy Land to Europe to assist fellow Jews during WWII. She was just 21 when in December 1942 Senesh penned a poem that began with the line “A voice called”, she believed this was a message and accepted the call, journeying to Europe just a few weeks later to take part in a clandestine operation to help rescue Jews from the Nazis.

These are the works that can now be seen on a central Israeli memorial that was built to commemorate fallen paratroopers. For almost 2 years Senesh helped with the war effort, she was captured in 1944 and in November of the same year, following several months of torture during which she refused to give any information she was executed by a firing squad. Her body was buried at the Jewish cemetery which was located in Budapest but in 1950 was exhumed and taken to Israel on a warship where it was given a ceremonial burial in Jerusalem at a military cemetery.

In the same year, several members of a kibbutz created a cultural centre named for the poet which contained accounts of her actions a slideshow of her life and some of her personal possessions. Over the years the building, which was located near the sea suffered significant damage as a result of the salt air. The renovations have taken over five years to complete and now the new building which has reopened is completely dedicated to Senesh.

If Statues Could Talk

The statue of the poet Alexander Pushkin, which is found in Pushkin Square, Moscow has once again become the location for political confrontation.

The statue, which has stood on the square since its unveiling in 1880, when Turgenev and Dostoyevsky both gave speeches, has hosted generations of political protests. This week it has once again become the place where politicians have gathered to give rousing talks to the public, this time is was communist politicians decrying what they described as Kremlin oppression, following a closely fought victory by their opponents in the recent parliamentary election.

Pushkin himself was no stranger to strong political views and would probably have been delighted that his statue has been the location for so many political meetings.

Ripon Poetry Festival Returns

Following a break caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, the Ripon Poetry Festival will be returning this year. It will take place from 7th -10th October and Simon Armitage, the current poet laureate, will be part of the line-up.

There will be plenty of poetry readings, book launches and also a talk about the Yorkshire of Ted Hughes, one of the most famous poets to come from the region.

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