Taking place on Thursday, April 27, here’s how to get involved in the island-wide celebration of poetry …
Acclaimed poet Martina Evans is the curator of Poetry Day Ireland this year. Now in its ninth year, Martina chose “Message in a Bottle” as the theme for the events. She was inspired by words of Paul Celan, that “a poem can be a message in a bottle, sent out in the – not always greatly hopeful – belief that somewhere and sometime it could wash up on land, on heartland perhaps. Poems in this sense too are under way: they are making towards something.” Here are ten ways to celebrate Poetry Day Ireland 2023.
Take a stroll along the canal bank in Dublin to meet poet Stephen Maguire
If you’re out in Dublin for a canal bank walk, stop by for a lunchtime chat on the Grand Canal with typewriter poet Stephen Maguire. He will be beside the statue of Patrick Kavanagh from 12pm – 2pm, ready to create a bespoke poem for you. Later in the day, there’s also a poetry clean-up of the Grand Canal, from 6.30-7.30pm with entertainment provided by poets Jean O’Brien, Sree Sen, and Sonya Gildea.
Look out for poems on the Dart
2023 marks 50 years of Ireland’s membership of the European Union, and as part of the “Poetry In Motion” project, expect to see poems from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic and of course, Ireland, displayed in their original form with translations on DART and commuter services.
Celebrate Eavan Boland (on Achill Island!)
In 1989, Eavan Boland published her famous essay, “A Kind of Scar”, setting out her vision for poetry inspired by her experience on Achill Island and an old woman that she met there. A panel of writers will meet on Achill Island to read their own work and to discuss Boland’s legacy and impact on poetry in Ireland. The event will be chaired by Nessa O’Mahony, Writer in Residence at the Heinrich Böll Cottage and editor of Poetry Ireland Review 138, a special tribute issue to Eavan Boland. Participants include other contributors to the special issue, poets Geraldine Mitchell, Moya Cannon and Mary O’Malley, as well as Achill-based harpist Laoise Kelly.
Watch this poetic premiere in Co Roscommon
Strokestown International Poetry Festival in Co Roscommon starts on Poetry Day Ireland with the premiere of Bealach an Fhéir Ghortaigh/Hunger’s Way Poetry, a new film by Edwina Guckian and poet Vincent Woods featuring new poems by Eiléan NÍ Chuilleanáin, Paddy Bushe, Moya Cannon, James Harpur, Jane Clarke, Eva Bourke, Pádraig MacFhearghusa and memorable work by Vona Groarke, Tom French, Kathleen Hill and Joseph Woods.
Take part in an open mic session at the Yeats’ Society Sligo Poetry Circle
Pop along for an open mic poetry session with the Yeats’ Society Sligo Poetry Circle, where creative writing students from ATU will participate along with poet in residence Victoria Kennefick and the British-Irish poet Joe Carrick-Varty.
Join in a Poetry Walk in Glendalough, Co Wicklow
For a lovely stroll on Poetry Day, join poet Jane Clarke for The Mining Way, Poetry Walk in Glendalough – all you need is a raincoat and comfy shoes, bus transport is provided. Booking via Eventbrite.
Discuss poems within poems in Limerick
At Draiocht Art Gallery, Limerick, join Poet Laureate of Adare, Edward O’ Dwyer, for “The Poem within the Poem” exploring poems in poetry, poems that were inspired by other poems, and poems that nod in the direction of another poet. Bring your own for the open mic session.
Remember loved ones in Waterford
The event “Remembrance” will remind us of the poetry of the late Sèan Dunne read by playwright and director, Jim Nolan, actress and writer Jenni Ledwell and actor, writer, poet and musician Joe Meagher. Members of the public are invited to write a poem about loved ones who have died and to bring along personal items to the event where the poems will be read.
Plant a poem in Belfast
At The Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, participants are invited to plant a poem and nurture it as it grows. “Here is a brighter garden [in a bottle!]” is a poetry workshop facilitated by Bebe Ashley. Participants are invited to build a small garden in a bottle, before writing a poem on paper embedded with wildflower seeds, and finally plant their poems into the garden.
Make a poetic ribbon in Louisburgh
Join Books at One, Louisburgh, for An Evening of Poetry and Wishing Ribbons – an interactive evening of poetry readings and an art installation. Seán Lysaght will read his work which inspired local artist Jennifer Hickey to create of sculptural installation of wishing ribbons which will be on show at the bookshop throughout the day on Thursday. The audience is invited to add their own poetic ribbon to this installation.
Need to know: For a full programme of Poetry Day Ireland 2023 and to book these free events, visit www.poetryireland.ie.