Tag Archives: News

Alice Oswald takes $65,000 Griffin prize with ‘breathtaking’ poetry

Falling Awake, already a much acclaimed collection, was cheered by 1,000-strong crowd at readings connected with the Canadian award

Falling-AwakeAlice Oswald has won one of the world’s richest poetry prizes with her latest collection, Falling Awake.
This dreamlike vision of the West Country carried off the 2017 International Griffin poetry prize, worth C$65,000 (£37,725). The same sum was also presented to the Vancouver poet Jordan Abel, who took home the Canadian prize with his long poem about cultural appropriation and racism, Injun.
Oswald said she was delighted to be part of the “atmosphere of real warmth and carnival” surrounding the award from the Griffin trust, whose work in schools she “deeply admired”.
“I’ve spent the last week exploring Canada and being looked after by its people and amazed by its forests – the international aspect of this prize is what matters to me,” she said. “Most of my favourite poets (both dead and alive) have never won prizes. However, in the spirit of carnival, it’s important for all people to wear a crown and ride on a float for a day – as long as they don’t turn up for work in it.”

Prize judge George Szirtes said that after reading through 617 submissions it was “not too hard a choice” to select Oswald’s collection.
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10 Movies About Poetry That Are Worth Your Time

10-movies-about-poetryPoetry in film can be a tricky thing. Often when something is described as “poetic” in cinema, it can refer to either the sweeping cinematography of a Terrence Malick or Peter Jackson epic, or it can refer to a contrived storyline about fathers and sons over multiple generations with plenty of Biblical allusions and a whole lot of death and misery.
More often than not, poetry in cinema is used to advance a plot or lend some deeper significance to an event where the protagonist is faced with a dilemma.
Something like Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris, for example, where Dylan Thomas’s ‘And Death Shall Have No Dominion’ serves as a kind of refrain for George Clooney’s character undergoing a personal crisis in the heart of deep space; or Four Weddings and a Funeral, where W.H. Auden’s ‘Funeral Blues’ (shock of shocks) is read at the funeral service of one of the film’s deceased main characters.
What this list serves to do is examine the best that cinema has to offer poetry as a subject, and since so many excellent movies have been made in recent years that manage to treat the topic seriously, it seemed as good a time as any to set it out before you. Enjoy.

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W. S. Merwin – his life and what lives in his poetry

merwin_youtubeMany thanks to Susan Koppersmith for making us aware of this poignant YouTube video about W. S. Merwin; an appropriate hors d’oeuvre for our upcoming Merwin feast this Thursday. Watch it here: W. S. Merwin – his life and what lives in his poetry.
One more reminder to check the SCHEDULE PAGE for the list of Merwin poems to be read and discussed.

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Poet and critic Anthony Cronin dies aged 88

anthony-croninRead Colm Tóibín on that fine writer Anthony Cronin
Listen to Anthony Cronin read his poem ‘Apology’

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Time to Register for the Spring 2017 Sessions

reminderPoetry lovers, it’s time to register for our spring 2017 sessions (January 26, February 23 and March 23). Registration is free, of course. You may register in person (e.g. before or immediately after our meeting on January 26), via telephone (604-713-1800) or online at: https://ca.apm.activecommunities.com/vancouver/Activity_Search/roundhouse-poetry-circle/87155 (then follow the registration instructions).
Please take the time to do this, as our free room at the Roundhouse Community Centre depends upon their awareness that we are an active group.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone. We’re all eagerly anticipating another year of great poetry at the Roundhouse.

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by W. S. Merwin

inheritanceAt my elbow on the table
it lies open as it has done
for a good part of these thirty
years ever since my father died
and it passed into my hands
Webster’s New International
Dictionary of the English
 of 1922
on India paper which I
was always forbidden to touch
for fear I would tear or somehow
damage its delicate pages
heavy in their binding
this color of wet sand
on which thin waves hover
when it was printed he was twenty-six
they had not been married four years
he was a country preacher
in a one-store town and I suppose
a man came to the door one day
peddling this new dictionary
on fine paper like the Bible
at an unrepeatable price
and it seemed it would represent
a distinction just to own it
confirming something about him
that he could not even name
now its cover is worn as though
it had been carried on journeys
across the mountains and deserts
of the earth but it has been here
beside me the whole time
what has frayed it like that
loosening it gnawing at it
all through these years
I know I must have used it
much more than he did but always
with care and indeed affection
turning the pages patiently
in search of meanings.

“Inheritance” by W. S. Merwin, from The Shadow of Sirius. © Copper Canyon Press, 2008.

Bill Ellis and Graeme Hughes will read and discuss selections from W. S. Merwin‘s book, The Shadow of Sirius in our January 26 session.

Please note some minor changes in the schedule for 2017.

Should you choose to do so, you can now read the Roundhouse Poetry Circle blog in any one of 100 different languages through the Google Translate widget. Scroll to the bottom of the widget column on the right-hand side of the home page and select your preferred language, from Irish to Persian.

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A Song on the End of the World

by Czeslaw Milosz

end-of-the-worldOn the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,
No other end of the world will there be.

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Beyond Bob Dylan: authors, poets and musicians pick their favourite songwriter

beyond-bob-dylanDylan’s Nobel prize win sparked a debate about lyrics as literature. Here, Andrew Motion, Carol Ann Duffy, Johnny Marr, Naomi Alderman and others nominate songwriters whose verse has the power of poetry.

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America Politica Historia, in Spontaneity


america-politica-historia-in-spontaneityO this political air so heavy with the bells

and motors of a slow night, and no place to rest

but rain to walk—How it rings the Washington streets!   

The umbrella’d congressmen; the rapping tires   

of big black cars, the shoulders of lobbyists   

caught under canopies and in doorways,

and it rains, it will not let up,

and meanwhile lame futurists weep into Spengler’s   

prophecy, will the world be over before the races blend color?

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Dylan’s Non-Response to the Nobel Prize Was An Eloquent And Poetic Silence

dylans_non-responseAt least one Nobel prize official was ticked off at the designated laureate in literature for not RSVP-ing, but this misconstrues how poets think and work.


For two weeks after the Nobel Prize in Literature was announced, Bob Dylan kept the world hung up in his silence.

Per Wastbërg, wasn’t happy about that. He chaired the committee that gave Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize in literature. After Dylan didn’t respond, Wastbërg told Swedish TV that Dylan’s silence was “impolite and arrogant.”

That was Wastbërg’s interpretation and he wasn’t alone. It says more about his expectations than about Dylan. Poets should be polite and decorous, I guess. But was Rimbaud polite? Was Allen Ginsberg decorous?

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