New College Gets Poet’s Name/Oscars’ Swag Bag Poetry – Poetry News Roundup January 28th

Today in our poetry news round-up we look at the new college to be named after a poet and the poet who will have their work included in the Oscars’ swag bags.

New College to be Named After the Cardinal Poet

James Cook University Campus, in Smithfield Cairns, is planning to name their new secondary college after St John Henry Newman.

Newman was an English theologian and poet during the 19th century. He was an Anglican priest who later turned to the Catholic church where he became a priest and then a cardinal. In October last year, he was canonised by Pope Francis, becoming the first English saint in the last 300 years.

Newman had a long association with education as a teacher, scholar and priest at Oxford University. His conversion to Catholicism led to him being estranged however he was later made the first honorary fellow at Trinity College. It has long been suggested that one of his most influential works is in fact “The Idea of the University”.

It is this background with his links to both the church and higher learning establishments that led to his name being put forward as the possible name for the new college.

It is hoped that the new college will be open to accepting a year 7 intake in 2022 and by the time it is full (2027) they hope to have 750 students registered.

Newcastle Poets Work Included in Oscars Swag Bags

Kelly Van Nelson, a poet from Newcastle has been given a rather unusual award. Her poetry book Graffiti Lane is to be included in this year’s swag bags that all the stars attending the Oscars will receive.

A-list celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt will receive a copy of the book together with a selection of other goodies in the traditional bag that is handed out to all of the celebrities who attend the annual awards ceremony.

Graffiti Lane is a gritty poetry collection that looks at social issues including domestic violence and bullying. It is the debut collection from Van Nelson who was more than a little star-struck when she heard the news.

The book was a number on bestseller with online retailer Amazon last year and was also give as a gift at the Australian Logie Awards in 2019. From there, interest in the book has taken off, and Van Nelson was contacted by the founder of a company called Hollywood Swag Bag, the company that create the gift bags for the Oscars.

The poet is delighted that what she regards as her gritty little poetry book will be helping in even a small way to help make poetry contemporary and cool again and that her message on important social issues will be reaching a much wider audience as a result of its Oscars exposure.

Born and raised in Newcastle, Van Nelson lived in a council house growing up and attended the local high school. She is a housewife who loves writing poetry.

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