On the 23rd of May 2017 Mancunian poet Tony Walsh read his poem, This is the Place in tribute to the Manchester Arena attack victims. A crowd of thousands gathered in central Manchester in remembrance of those who were killed and injured in a terror attack.
The poem instantly became a symbol of the proud and resilient city. Its lines now adorn walls and buildings, offering snippets of hope and strength to its inhabitants. The poem, it seemed, now belonged to the city.
Its creator, Tony Walsh, has since decided to officially ‘gift’ the poem to Manchester, hoping its use will help raise money for thousands of community projects for the city. The popularity of the poem had grown to the point that big corporations were using lines from it without permission, and without any recompense for Manchester and its people.
In January 2018, the poet said that by gifting the poem to the city of Manchester, it would ensure that any royalties would go to the Forever Manchester charity, which currently funds thousands of projects across the community.
Thanks to the licensing change, This is the Place can be used free of charge in school libraries and colleges, while a donation to charity is required from businesses. Any profits made through merchandise will also go to Forever Manchester.
The video below shows Walsh reading his poem aloud to the gathered community the day after the Manchester bombing that killed 22 and injured over 100 innocent people.
Speaking after donating the poem, Walsh said:
“This is me trying to give something back. There’s not a day gone by since the poem trended fourth in the world that I’ve not been approached by someone wanting to do something with it, or seen tweets about things that people have done with it unauthorised. It’s hugely time consuming. It’s about protecting the poem, it’s about using its commercial potential to benefit the people of Greater Manchester, putting it back to where it came from.”
Speaking of the community charity, he remarked: “Forever Manchester do fantastic work: they fund football teams and old pensioners’ clubs, community centres and cancer support groups, drama groups and dancing groups and sports teams. It’s just the stuff of community life really – it’s not massive headline stuff but it’s really important to the local communities.”
The longlist for poetry is an eclectic collection with a range of poetry styles and collections. Some we’ve heard of, some poets are new to us, but we do know that if it’s in the longlist then it’s almost guaranteed to be a fantastic collection.
And here it is, the National Book Awards Longlist for Poetry 2018:
Laugharne is steeped in history, and was well before Thomas decided to reside there. It has a castle that dates back to the 1100s, laid siege by Cromwell in the 1600s but still standing in ruinous form today. The town also contains many fine examples of Georgian townhouses and is home to the Laugharne Corporation, the last surviving medieval corporation in the UK.
It is however, best known for being the home of Dylan Thomas and the town is scattered with landmarks connected to the author, from the boathouse, to his writing shed, the castle gazebo where he and Richard Hughes wrote together, the Dylan Thomas birthday walk, inspired by Poem in October, and his final resting place.
Hughes’ terse yet powerful use of language, coloured by his West Riding dialect, created a hard energy to his work- emphatic but evocative, and never self-indulgent.
Watch below for a wonderful reading of The Crow by the poet himself.
On 12th August 1952, the execution of thirteen Soviet Jews in the Lubyanka Prison in Moscow in the then Soviet Union was carried out, the charges? Counterrevolutionary crimes and organised action meant to topple, undermine, or weaken the Soviet Union, whatever that means. Read More
Neruda had many accolades to his name, for his political work and his poetry. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971 and was described by Gabriel Garcia Marquez as “The greatest poet of the 20th Century in any language.” Read More
The Science Fiction Poetry Association’s award was started in 1978 in recognition of achievements in the field of speculative poetry. The award was named after the blind singer and storyteller “Noisy” Rhysling, the protagonist of Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Green Hills of Earth“.
Neil Gaiman’s poem The Mushroom Hunters beat a whole array of other-worldly poems to gain the prestigious first prize for a long poem. The poem has been heralded as the “first feminist poem about the dawn of science“.
Watch the reading, or read it yourself below.