Lent Is just around the corner and Structo is hosting its fifth Lenten Psalms Contest.
The basics: pick a psalm and translate/rework/rewrite/
You don’t have to be religious or an expert in dead languages – just dive deep into this timeless poetry. We’ve had a variety of submissions over the years from people with creeds from Catholic to agnostic, atheist to Hmong traditionalist, and all sorts in-between. The contest’s goal is to give space for reflect and writing. You can previous winning psalm ‘Kestrels’ by Cristina Baptista and psalms by Christine Darragh and Abigail Carroll online in Issue 16.
You can enter the contest here. Submissions are open until Easter Sunday (that’s Sunday 21st of April, at midnight UK time). All entries will be considered for publication in the magazine. The winning psalmist will receive $200 and a subscription to Structo. Entries will be judged by panel on originality, musicality, accuracy (to the psalm’s spirit), and aesthetic.
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Vaguely literary things we’ve been enjoying
I’m a big fan of audiobooks – a great way to enjoy stories when it isn’t possible to pick up a book – and Librivox has a great catalogue. The works on offer are out of (US) copyright and are free to download, though they do advise you to check the copyright status in your own country before downloading. Anyone can volunteer to record (either solo, or as part of a collaboration), and there’s a friendly and knowledgeable bunch of people who help with things such as ‘proof listening’. I read for them a few years ago and had great fun collaborating on Pliny’s Natural History and some of James Boswell’s work. Reading aloud does make you consider the text very closely, I’ve found. — Elaine
A blog I’ve been reading for ten years – indeed, since it started! – is People Reading. In each post, Sonya Worthy snaps a photo of someone on the street reading a book. She then interviews them briefly and finds out what they’re reading and why. It’s one of my favourite sites on the internet. I’ve discovered gems I would never otherwise have found, such as God’s Bits of Wood by Ousmane Sembène. People are always presented as readers first and foremost; she rarely delves into their private lives, unlike more modern sites such as Humans of New York. It’s lovely to see so many people out and about reading.
FutureLearn works with unis and cultural institutions around the world to create courses on some pretty interesting topics – all for free – from the comfort of your laptop or smartphone. They’re super accessible and are a great way to intro yourself to or brush up on subjects when you’re short on time and juggling other projects. I’m currently enjoying their course on Hans Christian Andersen with the Uni of Southern Denmark. Next up on my list is their Shakespeare course run by my old uni lecturer Jonathan Bate.
>> Check out the VLTWBE archive here.