Poet’s Home To Be Recognised?/Hedd Wyn Memorial/Cai Yanpei Passes Away – Poetry News Roundup September 8th

Today’s poetry news roundup looks at the home of a poet, which may receive historic recognition, the vandalism of a statue and the death of Hong Kong poet Cai Yanpei.

Poets Ann Arbor Home May Receive Historic Designation

Consideration is being given to the granting of historic status to the Ann Arbor home of Robert Hayden. The house, which is known as the Robert Hayden House, is in the lower Burns Park neighbourhood.

Hayden, who was the first Black faculty member of the English department at the University of Michigan was the writer of what are considered to be some of the more powerful poems on Black history that have ever been written in English. Hayden was one of American History’s more powerful Black American poets. He was inspired to write poems by such historical figures as Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass and topics like American Slavery and the Civil War.

Hayden was born in 1913 in Detroit. He was a winner of the Hopwood Award, a prestigious award given to aspiring writers. Having graduated from university in 1942 he taught for a number of years at the University of Michigan. He also taught for over 20 years at Fisk University, before returning to Ann Arbor with his family, where he died in 1980. Hayden caused some controversy during the 1960s. He called himself an “American poet” and refused to be referred to as a “Black poet”.

In 1976 Hayden became the poetry consultant for the library of Congress – the post was later renamed as poet laureate. He was the first Black American to be appointed to the post.

It is likely that that the committee will meet three times before they produce a report that will be sent to the appropriate departments regarding the decision. The final decision must be delivered by June 2022.

Hedd Wyn Memorial Vandalised

A memorial that is dedicated to the First World War poet Hedd Wyn, born Ellis Humphrey Evans, has been vandalised.

The memorial, which is located in the centre of Trawsfynydd, is dedicated to the poet who lost his life in the Battle of Passchendaele and was famously awarded the Eisteddfod chair posthumously in 1917. Paint has been daubed on the monument which is also dedicated to those local men who fought and lost their lives during WWI.

A local council representative has confirmed that the paint shouldn’t be difficult to remove. However he, and local residents, are angered by the disregard that has been given to the memorial given all that it represents. They are hoping that local CCTV cameras will have captured the individual(s) who committed the act, and the matter is now in the hands of the police.

Cai Yanpei Dies Aged 86

The Hong Kong born poet Cai Yanpei, who is renowned for his poems on changes in society and love, has passed away at the age of 86.

Born in 1935 in Guangzhou, Cai worked as the editor of a publication known as The Chinese Student Weekly as well as on the literary supplement Ming Pao as editor from 1966 – 1994.

He spent much of his life writing poetry and in an interview stated that women were his inspiration, the motivation that allowed him to write. He published a number of short poetry collections during his life, the last of which was Zhongguo Shijian, published in 1996.

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