Zephaniah/Wilfred Owen/Dorothy Hewett – Poetry News Roundup June 12th

Today’s poetry news roundup takes a look at the poet Benjamin Zephaniah on tour, a concert combining music and the poetry of Wilfred Owen in commemoration of the centenary of WWI and finally a revelation in the Australian literary world from the daughters of the poet Dorothy Hewett.

Poet on Tour

The poet Benjamin Zephaniah is currently on tour, playing to various locations across the UK. And whilst it might be said that a poetry reading along the lines of an “audience with” might not be something that would draw the crowds “The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah” is certainly not something to fall into that category.

Having recently appeared at the Queen’s Hall Edinburgh the poet certainly knows how to draw an audience, perhaps it is his delivery of the words or perhaps it is his subject matter; he is certainly not afraid to touch on the current topics, especially those that are close to his heart.

Zephaniah, who has spent time in jail as a youth focuses much of his poetry on the racism that he faced growing up and more recently has used poetry to highlight the plight of the Windrush generation and the immigration scandal that currently shows little sign of going away. He is certainly not afraid to touch on those subjects that are considered by many to be a little “Spiky”.

The tour will run until the 30thJune when Zephaniah will appear at the Ledbury Festival.

Concert to Mark the Centenary of the End of World War One

The University of York will be putting on a rather fitting tribute this Wednesday to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. The event will take place at York Minster.

Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem will be performed by the Symphony Orchestra; the music was commissioned for the 1962 consecration of Coventry Cathedral which was completely destroyed during the Second World War and later rebuilt.

There will be a church service in the form of a traditional Latin mass which will be interspersed with poems by Wilfred Owen, the First World War poet, that will be set to music.  A fitting tribute to both the poet himself and those who gave their lives during the war.

Poets Daughters Admit They Were Preyed on as Children

A somewhat disturbing story has broken into the news in Australia in the last couple of days involving the daughters of the late poet Dorothy Hewett.

Both women claim that during their childhood, growing up in the 1970’s there were many visitors to their home, men who preyed on young girls and that both were sexually assaulted and raped whilst in their mid-teens. Whilst these declarations have sent something of a shockwave through the literary community they claim there are allusions to these incidents in their mother’s poetry.

Kate and Rozanna Lilley, who are both also poets have recently published books that explore the traumas they struggled with during their childhood. They neither of them blame their mother for what happened and feel it was very much a cultural issue that was prevalent at the time. In fact, many women have come forward since their revelations to tell them they are not alone.



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