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Poemathon with Older People launches with climate crisis theme

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Poetic Licence

Ben Simmons

Mary Robinson writes first line of collaborative poem

Poetry Ireland with the Global Brain Health Institute (Trinity College Dublin) and Creative Brain Week is inviting older people across the island of Ireland to write a line of poetry for a Poemathon with Older People.

The contributions will be combined to form a collaborative poem capturing the thoughts and imaginings of older people right now on the theme of climate crisis.

Former President of Ireland and Adjunct Professor for Climate Justice at Trinity College Dublin, Mary Robinson, has penned the opening line of the poem:

Growing up we did not know; now we need to mend

Mary Robinson said, “It’s wonderful to see the Poemathon with Older People focusing on the climate crisis as its theme and bringing together the voices of an older generation through the shared experience of creating a poem.

“As we get older, we think more often about our legacy and picture the world that will be inherited by the next generations. I look forward to seeing how the contributors to the Poemathon engage with the idea that now is the time we need to mend.”

This is the second year of the Poemathon with Older People, which will again be curated and edited by poet and editor Seamus Cashman. Submissions can be made through a form on Poetry Ireland’s website from 1 March until 5pm on 28 March – at this link.

Niamh O’Donnell, Director of Poetry Ireland, said, “The Poemathon is a creative opportunity to express reflections, reactions and responses to what is happening in society, through the perspectives of older people.

“We’re delighted that Mary Robinson has joined us for this year’s project. Last year’s Poemathon brought together rich thoughts and feelings on the Covid-19 pandemic from hundreds of contributors – we’re looking forward to seeing all the lines of poetry in response to this year’s timely and impactful theme.”

The Global Brain Health Institute at Trinity College Dublin is one of the partners in the Poemathon project.

“As an Atlantic Fellow at the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), I work to promote brain health for the world’s aging populations,” said Dr Francesca Farina. “I am delighted that GBHI is supporting the Poemathon in partnership with Poetry Ireland and Creative Brain Week. Our brain health is inextricably tied to the richness of the physical world. Addressing the climate crises is therefore essential in safeguarding the well-being of individuals and our societies at large.”

Collaboration in poetry writing has a long history and tradition, often used as a method of ‘opening the voice’ in poetry workshops, based on the idea that when writers share in a writing process, the outcomes often prove to be imaginative and surprising, with a creative conversation taking place within poems themselves.

A reminder that the opening line of the poem is: “Growing up we did not know; now we need to mend”. Entries can be submitted until 5pm on Monday 28 March on the Poetry Ireland website: at this link.


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