Though the country continues to proceed with caution, the easing of events restrictions since 6th September has precipitated the return of, in the flesh, arts and cultural events across Ireland. With that in mind, I am very happy to see the arrival of Poetry Towns.
This September sees the launch of the inaugural arrival of Poetry Ireland’s Poetry Town. Run in conjunction with Local Authorities art offices, this new initiative is set to bring over 100 poetry events to 20 towns across Ireland between 10th-18th September. The initiative brings a diverse range of events (indoors and outdoors), activities and displays, with lots of involvement from local businesses.
In the spirit of the return of cultural activities, Director of Poetry Ireland, Niamh O’Donnell outlined that the “ aim of Poetry Town is to celebrate the vitality and strength of our towns and communities, and to shine a light on the wealth of creativity and talent that can be found in them.”
As part of the Poetry Town initiative, 20 poet laureates were nominated for each town:
- Adare, Co Limerick: Edward O’Dwyer;
- Athenry, Co Galway: Elaine Feeney;
- Bailieborough, Co Cavan: Mairéad Donnellan;
- Ballycastle, Co Antrim: Kate Newmann;
- Bandon, Co Cork: Matthew Geden;
- Belmullet, Co Mayo: Anne Walsh Donnelly;
- Bray, Co Wicklow: Kayssie K.;
- Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim: Vincent Woods;
- Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary: Billy Fenton;
- Cootehill, Co Cavan: Noel Monahan;
- Dublin 1, Co Dublin: Rachael Hegarty;
- Dungarvan, Co Waterford: Áine Uí Fhoghlú;
- Dunshaughlin, Co Meath: Orla Fay;
- Ennistymon, Co Clare: Grace Wells;
- Listowel, Co Kerry: Dairena Ní Chinnéide;
- Mountmellick, Co Laois: Arthur Broomfield;
- Naas, Co Kildare: Mary O’Donnell;
- Strokestown, Co Roscommon: Noelle Lynskey;
- Tullamore, Co Offaly: Cormac Lally;
- Wexford Town, Co Wexford: Sasha Terfous.
A real strength of Poetry Town is the emphasis on accessibility and diversity throughout the schedule of events. Spoken word artist Sasha Terfous, the laureate chosen for Wexford Town, emphasised the importance of make poetry accessible when discussing the project with South East Radio:
“We have to change our perception of poetry and re-establish our relationship with poetry because especially when we’re teenagers we get a bad taste in our mouths because we’re cooped up in a hot stuffy room all day long learning it in school. Part of what I try to do with poetry is to try and make it accessible, not just to the community at large but to young people as well.”
So, if you’re seeking some poetic activity and are itching to get out and explore some of the beautiful towns around the country, this really is the poetry event to fill your September. For further information visit the Poetry Town website: poetrytown.ie.