Dodge Poetry Festival/Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize – Poetry News Roundup June 29th

We begin another week here on My Poetic Side with a look at the Dodge Poetry Festival. We also look at the shortlist for this years Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize.

Online Move for N.J. Poetry Festival

The Dodge Poetry Festival, a major New Jersey Poetry Festival has confirmed that it will be going ahead this year but will be moving online because of coronavirus. The festival which takes place every other year normally sees some of the worlds best poets arriving in New Jersey for the festival described by Robert Haas the former US poet laureate as “poetry heaven”.

The Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival is usually held in the Downtown Arts Neighbourhood of Newark and is the largest festival of its type in North America. It is hoped that by going online this year’s festival will be even bigger. The organisers see the events of this year as the perfect opportunity to open up the festival to an even bigger audience than normal and perhaps appeal to all the new and emerging poets that the pandemic has created.

The festival will still take place in October as planned, there will be a Livestream which the general public will be able to pay a small fee to access and the Academy of American Poets’ Chancellor will also be taking part.

The savings that will be made by not organising a live festival are to be donated to a non-profit organisation that supports the LGBTQ community, poets of colour and those with disabilities.

Previous Dodge Poetry Festivals have honoured legends of poetry like Amiri Baraka the late NJ poet laureate, Derek Walcott and Octovio Paz.

This year would have been the 18th occurrence of the festival which takes place on a biennial basis, it would have been the 6th time it had taken place in Newark.

Edwin Morgan Poetry Award Shortlist

The poetry award, which is named for Edwin Morgan the first official modern Makar of Scotland will be awarded by the Edwin Morgan Trust. Yesterday they announced the shortlist for this year’s prize, there are seven poets shortlisted this year.

The prize is a biannual one with a winning prize of £20,000. The award is funded by the estate of Morgan as specified in his will when he died in 2010. The requirement for poets entering the competition is that they should be under the age of 30 and Scottish.

Morgan never forgot the struggles he faced in his early years as a poet and wanted to do everything that he could to encourage those just starting out.

The judges this year have read over 60 unpublished poetry collections that were all submitted on an anonymous basis. From these, they have created a shortlist of just 7.

This year marks what would have been Morgan’s 100th birthday, making this year’s competition special when it comes to remembering the legacy that he left for future poets.

The winner will be announced later this year at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in a special online event.

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