Poetry News – Winter 2020

Front cover of the winter issue of Poetry News with stories of Julia Donaldson's poem for the Trafalgar Square tree banner, 'The Christmas Pine', the launch of Obsidian Foundation's inaugural retreat for Black poets and NPC judge Jonathan Edwards on the huge delivery of this year's poems.

The winter edition of Poetry News brings good cheer with its tidings of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree poem, penned this year by much-loved children’s author Julia Donaldson, and launched into the world with a sparkling reading by three local school children.

We cover new initiatives: Obsidian Foundation is a mentoring and support scheme for Black British poets set up by Nick Makoha, which The Poetry Society is supporting with events, bursaries and other opportunities. Keats200 is a bicentenary commemoration project, which The Poetry Society is participating in with themed members’ poems competitions, new commissions, and other Keatsian activities planned for 2021. And from our friend, we brings news of the Dial-a-Poem telephone poetry project, celebrating fifty years of the original American scheme with a new app and commissions from contemporary poets.

We announce that Valzyhna Mort will deliver our 2021 Annual Lecture on the theme of ‘obsession, repetition, trauma and Belarusian traditional embroidery’, part of an exciting lecture series to be detailed soon. Our annual Stanza Competition winner is revealed, along with a fascinating interview, and our quarterly members’ poems winners, chosen by Phoebe Power, consider the theme of ‘Youth’ in vivid and varied ways.

Remnants is a powerful poetry and music collaboration between poet Yomi Ṣode and musician James B. Wilson, responding to an image from the Black Lives Matter protests – Mike Sims interviews Yomi about his experience of responding to a complex and painful subject. We also hear from artist Helena Hunter about her residency at The Horniman Museum, probing into their collection of stuffed birds using poetry and artistic innovations.

There’s an intriguing profile of Victorian scientist John Tyndall and his little-known poetry, an insight into Cornish indie publisher Guillemot Press, and tributes to Northern Irish poet Derek Mahon, who died in October, from Maurice Riordan and Cahal Dallat. We also reveal the winner of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry: David Constantine. And as ever, PS members’ exciting projects and successes are detailed and celebrated, and we highlight poetic opportunities and happenings around the world.

Poetry News connects members to the wider world of poetry. To receive a copy through your letterbox every quarter, simply join The Poetry Society.