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Poetry Ireland announces inaugural Dublin Fringe Festival project

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Poetry Ireland is delighted to announce its brand new project, Versify, which will cultivate and spotlight the most exciting new voices in Irish spoken word poetry. 

Versify is the first partnership between Poetry Ireland and Dublin Fringe Festival, which is celebrating its 25th birthday this year. 

The search is now on for six original new performance poets, who are invited to submit samples of their work for the chance to take part in the project (deadline: Friday 2 August). The selected poets will be awarded intensive workshops in performance and craft, along with a session from industry professionals on navigating the biz, as well as a paid gig. 

The series culminates in a public night of electric slam poetry at Poetry Ireland’s centre on Parnell Square on Thursday 12th September as part of Dublin Fringe Festival.

Elizabeth Mohen of Poetry Ireland said the organisation was excited to be part of Dublin Fringe Festival for the very first time. 

“Dublin Fringe Festival is renowned for being the home of bold ideas, brave and adventurous audiences and with Versify, we’re very much aligning with those key characteristics,” she said. “Versify will bring together the most sensational new voices in spoken word poetry, which is a really vibrant and growing scene in Ireland. The chance to avail of intensive mentoring in poetry and performance will help the six participants on the road to spoken word stardom.”

Acclaimed poet Bridget Minamore will select this year’s participants and will lead the workshops on form & craft and performance. Bridget is a British-Ghanaian writer from south-east London and is a poet, critic, essayist and journalist writing for The Guardian about pop culture, theatre, race and class. She was chosen as one of Speaking Volumes’ 40 Stars of Black British Literature, has read her work internationally, and is the co-lead tutor for the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. 

Emmet Kirwan and Linda Devlin, two spoken word stalwarts from Ireland, will also be part of Versify as they facilitate a workshop on the business of performance poetry. Emmet Kirwan is an award-winning actor, playwright and poet from Tallaght in Dublin, who is well known for his spoken word poetry play ‘Dublin Oldschool’, which was subsequently made into a highly successful feature film. He’s also recently been involved in writing for This Is Pop Baby’s smash hit RIOT, including his poem ‘Heartbreak’ which was turned into a short film. 

Linda Devlin is a freelance creative producer, cultural programmer and project manager, who co-founded and managed Lingo, Ireland’s first dedicated spoken word festival which ran from 2014-17. She has programmed and produced spoken word events and projects for Electric Picnic, Body & Soul, St Patrick’s Festival and Dublin UNESCO City of Literatures and many more.

Versify is a performance-based parallel to Poetry Ireland’s Introductions series, which has produced some of Ireland’s most lauded poets over the past 30 years. This inaugural strand of Versify promises to bring new, immensely talented voices into the limelight, before they step onto much bigger stages in the years to come.

Applications for Versify can be made on the Poetry Ireland website (deadline is Friday 2nd August) – https://www.poetryireland.ie/whats-on/versify-series-2019 More information on the Dublin Fringe Festival programme can be found at https://www.fringefest.com/

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