Blossom Poetry/O‘Shaughnessy Award/William Barnes Society Funding Drive – Poetry News Roundup April 1st

We start the week with a look at a poetry book dedicated to blossom. We also look at the winner of the 2024 O’Shaughnessy Award and The William Barnes Society’s search for funding.

Blossomise – A Spring Themed Poetry Collection

Simon Armitage, the Poet Laureate, has produced a collection of poetry titled Blossomise as part of his work with the National Trust as they renew their blossom campaign for the Spring.

He has created ten poems, a musical EP and haiku, imagining the blossom as an artist, fancy dress or a magician lighting up the world around them. He also considers them as a reminder of climate change but also a think of beauty. The collection was launched to mark the start of the campaign by the National Trust and also to mark World Poetry Day. Armitage has spent the last year visiting a range of sites all over the UK to look at blossom.

Speaking about the book Armitage stated,  “Nature writing goes right back to the very origins of poetry.” He had intended to write only ten poems. However, he was inspired by the significance that blossom hold in the Japanese culture and eleven haiku were also created. Five of the pieces that he has written have been adapted into songs which the poets band, LYR, have recorded.

This year marks the fifth iteration of the blossom campaign, which became a prominent event during the first Covid lockdown. This year, the blossom season started earlier than usual due to the mild weather, but the sudden colder spells set it back to its normal timing.

28th O’Shaughnessy Award Winner Announced

The poet Gerald Dawe has been announced as the 28th winner of the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry. The award, which is the only one of its kind in the world, is awarded to a poet who is a resident in Ireland and who has made a significant contribution to the cultural landscape of the country.

Dawe, who came into the world in Belfast and was educated at both University College Galway and the University of Ulster has been a Fellow and Professor Emeritus of English for many years. He is the founder of the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing. Additionally, he and has written a number of collections of poetry receiving several awards including a Ledig-Rowholt International Writers’ Award and a Macaulay Fellowship.

William Barnes Archive Seek Funds

William BarnesFunding is being sought by The William Barnes Society in order to restore their archive dedicated to the 19th century polymath and poet. They are hoping to be able to raise £35,000 in order to hire the services of an archivist who will help them to restore the collection which is currently located at the Dorset History Centre. The William Barnes Society believe that the work will take around two years to complete once they have the funding in place.

Known for his philanthropic nature, when he died Barnes left an archive of his work to what is now the centre. He was well known for writing much of his poetry in dialect, establishing a museum and also a school in the area. He was also good friends with Thomas Hardy, a fellow poet and local Dorset resident.

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