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Nearfm launch brand new poetry radio series

Northside Dublin radio station reinterpret Dublin: One City One Book choice for 2014

‘I have long admired NEAR FM’s commitment to its community of listeners, and in particular its longstanding practice of turning listeners into broadcasters — our own stories, told by ourselves to ourselves, with a welcome for anyone happening to listen in. Paddy Kavanagh would have approved, there was a man who knew that all universal truths have their roots in a particular place at a particular time.’ – Theo Dorgan

Nearfm have produced a ten part radio series reinterpreting the Dublin: One City One Book ’If Ever You Go: a Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song’.

This series takes a unique look at the book from a northside Dublin perspective by focusing on the poems, poets and songs associated with Northside Dublin.

The series features many well known poets reciting and being interviewed about the poems they have featured in the book including Paula Meehan, Theo Dorgan and Dermot Bolger as well as up and coming poets such as Colm Keegan, Jessica Traynor and Alan Jude Moore .

Contributions also come from Poetry Ireland, Dedalus Press, Dublin City of Literature, Trinity College Dublin and St David’s Boys National School in north Dublin. There are also well known ballads performed by Gerry Cooley, Vincent Smith and Stephen Heffernan.

The series will be broadcast on Nearfm over 5 weeks in March, with two episodes a week broadcasting back to back on Mondays from 6-7pm from Monday March 2nd – Monday March 30th 2015.


2015 Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowships awarded to three Irish poets

The Trustees of the Estate of Katherine Kavanagh have awarded the 2015 Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowships to three Irish poets, Rody Gorman, Michelle O’Sullivan and Paul Perry.

Rody Gorman
Rody Gorman was born in Dublin in 1960 and now lives in the Isle of Skye. He has published several poetry collections, including Eadar Fiaradh is Balbh na h-Oidhche (diehard, Callander, 2007) in English, Irish and Scottish Gaelic. His selected poems in Irish and Scottish Gaelic, Chernilo, were published by Coiscéim in 2006. He has toured with Scottish poets as part of Turas na bhFilí, and has worked as writing fellow at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, University College Cork and the University of Manitoba. In 2010, poems of his won the Scottish Gaelic prize in both the Wigtown and Strokestown Poetry Competitions. He writes with energy, sometimes with epigrammatic concision but also with copious power on occasion.

Michelle O’Sullivan
Michelle O’Sullivan was born in Chicago in 1972 and grew up in County Sligo. She has a BA and MA from the University of Hertfordshire and worked in England as a primary teacher. She has also lived in Greece and the US. She lives in County Mayo with her two children and works as a home tutor. Her first collection, The Blue End of Stars, was published in 2012 by Gallery. In 2013 it was shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize and won the Strong Shine Poetry Award. Her poems have been praised for their memorable images, especially of the entanglements of water and light.

Paul Perry
Paul Perry was born in Dublin in 1972 and now lives there with his wife and three children. His collections are The Drowning of the Saints (Salmon, 2003); The Orchid Keeper (Dedalus, 2006); The Last Falcon and Small Ordinance (Dedalus, 2010); and Gunpowder Valentine: New and Selected Poems (Dedalus, 2014). He teaches creative writing at Kingston University, London, and also at University College, Dublin. He was curator of the Poetry Now poetry festival in Dun Laoghaire. His poems are both delicate and penetrating, firmly and directly written. With Karen Gilleece he published a novel, The Innocent Sleep by Karen Perry (Henry Holt, 2014).

Patrick Kavanagh’s widow, Katherine (born Katherine Barry Moloney), in her will left all rights in her husband’s works and all royalties from them to Trustees who were directed to apply the income to help Irish poets, in their middle years, who are in need of assistance.

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Irish Times Poetry Now Award Shortlist

The shortlist for this year’s Irish Times Poetry Now Award has been announced.The award is presented for the best single volume of poetry by an Irish poet.

The winner will be announced on March 21st at DLR Lexicon in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, as part of the Mountains to Sea DLR Book Festival. This is the first time the festival has been held in March.

The five shortlisted poets are: Theo Dorgan for Nine Bright Shiners (Dedalus Press); Martina Evans for Burnfort, Las Vegas (Anvil Press); Kerry Hardie for The Zebra Stood in the Night (Bloodaxe Books); Vona Groake for X (Gallery Press); and Peter Sirr for The Rooms (Gallery Press).

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The Countdown is On! RTÉ, A Poem For Ireland

So we’re almost there: on Friday 30th January, on RTÉ Radio One’s The John Murray Show and later that night on RTÉOne Television’s The Works, RTÉ will be announcing the 10 poems its independent Jury chose from all your nominations for the final stage of RTÉ A Poem For Ireland. It was a huge job: the public nominated over 130 poems in all and our Jury struggled to whittle that down to just 10 poems that would meet all the criteria set by RTÉ: 10 poems of the past century that, together, tell a story of us as a people over the past 100 years.

Read RTÉ’s full release below:

Your reasons for nominating the different poems were many and varied. The team in RTÉ really enjoyed watching such a huge variety of suggestions come in, and particularly loved the reasons for nominating poems. Many of the public expressed deep personal connections with certain poems and told us some beautiful stories of life, love and loss. Many remember poems learnt at school with great fondness. Some simply found expression, solace, joy, or a moment of clarity, in a poem and wanted to share that with us.

Thursday 29th January at 10.15pm on RTÉ One, the RTÉ A Poem For Ireland season kicks off with an extended, landmark documentary which looks back at the history of Irish poetry, from the earliest recorded poems to the present day. ‘A Rebel Act: Poems That Shaped The Nation’ explores why poetry means so much to us as a people. It features performances of almost 30 poems by Irish people from all walks of life, from parish priests to former Presidents, from market sellers to well-known Irish actors.

On Friday 30th January, the 10 poems we’re asking the public to engage with during the project will be announced: 5 on Friday morning’s edition of The John Murray Show on RTÉ, Radio One at 9am, and 5 that evening at 8.30pm on RTÉ One’s The Works.

On Television, RTÉ Television’s flagship arts show The Works (Fridays, 8.30, RTÉ One) will feature mini-documentaries on each of the poems each week. And each week, the public will be able to listen to ordinary people from offices and workplaces across Ireland reacting to each of the 10 poems on RTÉ Radio One’s The John Murray Show (weekdays, 9am, RTÉ Radio One). As those items, and other Poem For Ireland coverage from across RTÉ, go out on Radio and Television, they’ll also be added to the website. As will your comments, videos and stories.

The whole point of this project is to ignite a national conversation about our poetry. The Public will be able to leave comments about the poems and the project on this website, and on RTÉ, A Poem For Ireland Facebook page and Twitter (@rtepoetry) account. We also welcome videos: if you’d like to record a video of you, your colleagues or friends performing any poem of the 10, we will publish the best on the website, and some may even appear on television.

Finally we’d like to thank everyone who has collaborated with us to make this project possible: our partners Poetry Ireland and An Post; the staff of the National Library and the students (and their teachers and parents!) from Poetry Aloud; our Jury and advisors; the publishers, poets and estates of the poets whose poems have been shortlisted, who have been so generous in granting copyright to publish the poems. But most of all we’d like to thank the thousands of people who nominated poems, and have made this project such a delight so far for all of us here in RTÉ. It is clear we love our poetry; let’s celebrate that over the next 6 weeks!


Listen to Ireland Professor of Poetry Annual Lecture 2014

The Solace of Artemis, Paula Meehan’s Annual Lecture as the Ireland Professor of Poetry took place on Thursday 27 November 2014 in the Synge Theatre, Trinity College Dublin. You can listen to the lecture now here.


Eavan Boland delivers the 2014 Michael Littleton Memorial Lecture entitled “Has Poetry a Future?”

The Michael Littleton Memorial Lecture is an annual public lecture for radio on topics of wide-ranging interest and concern recorded in front of a live, interactive audience for broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1.

The 2014 Michael Littleton Memorial Lecture was delivered by poet and academic Eavan Boland and is entitled “Has Poetry a Future?”. The event took place in the RTÉ Radio Centre, RTÉ, Donnybrook, Dublin 4 on Monday, 15 December 2014. The lecture was followed by a short Q&A and was broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on 26 December at 7pm.

Listen to the lecture now


Winners of Poetry Aloud announced

The winners of the eighth annual Poetry Aloud competition, organised by Poetry Ireland and the National Library of Ireland were announced on Friday 5 December at the final round of the competition, held at the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Poetry Aloud, an annual poetry speaking competition for post-primary school students across the island of Ireland, was launched in 2006.  Since then, it has grown enormously from just a few hundred entries to over 1,700 this year alone.

Megan Nar, from St Louis Secondary School in Monaghan, won in the junior category. Sion Flanagan, from Mary Immaculate Secondary School in Co Clare, won in the intermediate category, while Cian Siggins, from Coláiste Éinde in Co Galway, won in the senior category.

The Poetry Aloud competition comprises three stages: the regionals; the semi-finals; and the final, and this year, over 118 schools took part in the competition at 18 regional heats in venues across the country. This year’s finalists were then chosen at two semi-finals involving 149 participants.

From the three national category winners, an overall winner is chosen each year, and awarded the Seamus Heaney Poetry Aloud Award.  The overall winner receives a prize of €500, and the perpetual trophy designed by Meath-based sculptor, Fiona Smith-Darragh. This year, Megan Nar from St Louis Secondary School in Monaghan was awarded the Seamus Heaney Poetry Aloud Award and presented with the trophy by judge, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. The 2014 judging panel also included Director of the Abbey Theatre, Fiach Mac Conghail; and Director of Poetry Ireland, Maureen Kennelly.

Book tokens to the value of €300 are also presented to a teacher from each winning school to contribute towards adding new stock to the school library.

The late Seamus Heaney was a significant supporter of Poetry Aloud.  In 2009, he was presented by the British Library with the David Cohen Prize for Literature.  In addition to the main award, the winner each year nominates the recipient of a subsidiary prize, In nominating Poetry Aloud for the award, Seamus Heaney cited the extraordinary way in which the competition seeks to celebrate the joy of speaking and listening to poetry as well as the fact that there is a strong North / South dimension to the competition.

This year, Poetry Aloud is partnering with The Works, RTÉ Television’s flagship arts show, and RTÉ Radio One’s The John Murray Show on RTÉ, A Poem for Ireland, The Best-Loved Irish Poem of the Last 100 Years. Finalists and winners from this year’s competition will appear on The Works reading a selection of Ireland’s best-loved poems.


Michael Smith

Poetry Ireland are saddened to hear of the death of poet, translator, Aosdána member, and former editor of Poetry Ireland Review, Michael Smith.

Read Michael Smith’s obituary in The Irish Times


Garda Vetting Seminar

With the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 scheduled to commence, Poetry Ireland and the National Library of Ireland jointly hosted a seminar on Garda Vetting for organisations and persons working with, or who provide services for, children and young people in the area of the arts and arts-in-education on 7 November. A second seminar is planned for early 2015.

Read Sylvia Thompson’s Irish Times article on Garda Vetting (8 November 2014).


Siobhán Parkinson wins Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award for Literature.

Poetry Ireland would like to congratulate Siobhán Parkinson on winning the Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award for Literature. A writer, publisher, editor and translator, she has published more than twenty books since 1992, winning numerous awards, and her books have been translated into multiple languages. She has held numerous Writers in Schools with Poetry Ireland, with a particular emphasis on working with children with special needs, and has been writer in residence to Dublin City and the Irish Writers’ Centre, Marino Institute of Education, Waterford City, and the Church of Ireland College of Education.  Siobhán is a former board member of Children’s Books Ireland and was also the inaugural Laureate na nÓg from 2010-2012. She is currently published by Little Island Press.