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Tichborne at 28: Radical Poetry

Chidiock Tichborne, the greatest one poem poet in the English language, was executed at the age of 28 after a memorable stay in the Tower of London.  His elegy is one of the reasons I wanted to be a poet, as its force inspired me greatly when I was young.  Now, at the same age, Bethan Tichborne, his relation, has been charged after leaping a fence near to David Cameron, British PM, as he stood on stage with Santa Claus to light a Christmas tree.

Tichborne was commended by judge Tim Dooley for her brilliant poetry collection, in the 2012 international Melita Hume Poetry Prize competition, which Eyewear runs.  Apparently, in this instance of activism, she was seeking to get near enough the prime minister, a believer in press freedom, so she could read out the names of those on "Calum's List" who have died due to the severe budget cuts imposed by the Coalition. Apparently these will continue for some time.

Tichborne is a highly intelligent, strongly driven person of great integrity and bravery.  Her poems, when they become better known, will impress - Eyewear Publishing hopes to have her book out in 2014.  In the meantime, she reminds me of a young Shelley, another well-educated graduate whose passion for justice led him to espouse radical causes.  Tichborne may have disrupted the peace, but has also reminded us that English poets can be creative rebels.  She goes to Kabul soon, on a fact-finding mission for a book she is planning to write.  She's a fascinating emerging literary-political figure.


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Any original unpublished manuscript, in English, by anyone living anywhere in the world, writing in any genre or on any topic, prose, non-fiction or poetry (even drama) is eligible, making it arguably the world's most eclectic "broad church" literary scouting prize. Last year's debut winner was Sohini Basak (her book is being launched in Bloomsbury July 5th, 2018).

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