Carol Competition/Emily Dickinson Series/Melville Bicentennial – Poetry News Roundup September 3rd

Today on My Poetic Side we take a look at the BBC Radio 3 Christmas Carol competition, the new web series on Emily Dickinson and the book to celebrate the bicentennial of Herman Melville.

New Work by Dharker Revealed on BBC Radio 3

Yesterday the acclaimed poet Imtiaz Dharker, who turned down the chance to be the UK Poet Laureate earlier this year, revealed her latest work. She was launching the Christmas carol competition on BBC Radio 3.

The competition will offer amateur composers the chance to write a new carol for SATB choir. The carol can be either accompanied on the piano or a cappella – and should be set to the words of “Go To The Child”, a poem specially commissioned by the poet.

A 2014 winner of Her Majesty’s Gold Medal for Poetry, Dharker said that is was both frightening and exciting to be asked to write the Christmas carol. However, the idea or creating a poem that would be sung by a choir appealed to her and she was happy to accept the challenge. She tried a number of experimental forms of writing before feeling the need to return to the more traditional form of carol that she remembered – poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The result was something quite traditional, which celebrates the birth of a new baby.

The competition entries will be whittled down to a shortlist of just 6. These will then be performed on the breakfast programme on BBC Radio 3 in the run-up to Christmas. The winner will be chosen by public vote, with the announcement being made on 20th December. It will also be played on Christmas Day on Radio 3.

Emily Dickinson – The New Web Series

The life of Emily Dickinson, the well-known American poet is to be the subject of a new web series.

Known to have been somewhat reclusive, the poet lived during the 1800s. Both Emily and her sister Lavinia cared for their mother who was ill – neither sister married. Although Emily began writing poetry very early in life, very little of her work was published whilst she was alive. It wasn’t until after her death that much of her work was found by her sister.

The new series will portray the poet as a somewhat rebellious teenager who faces the disapproval of her parents for wanting to be a great writer. There has been some questioning over some of the content which seems overly modern for a period drama of the era however it is still likely to appeal to plenty of fans. The series is due to be released later this year.

Library of America Celebrates Herman Melville

The Library of America has released a 1000-page collection of poetry by celebrated poet Herman Melville. The book has been put together to celebrate the bicentennial of the poet’s birth.

During his lifetime, Melville wrote a huge amount of prose and poetry, most of which was influenced by the sea. He was also the author of American Literatures longest poem, the 18,000 line “Clarel” written in 1876 – although this is, sadly, not included in the new publication.

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