The much awaited results of the 2013 iYeats Poetry Competition were announced on Saturday August 3rd as part of an evening of poetry and music at Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo. Those gathered had cause to celebrate as the event also marked the 5th year of the competition. Guests were treated to readings from Ireland’s most renowned poets plus music before 2013 judges Katie Donovan & James Harper announced the winners.
The First Prize of €500 was awarded to Breda Wall Ryan from Bray, Co Dublin for ‘Dreamless’. Breda’s poems are, she says “inspired by the intersection of the surreal and the ordinary, and by the patterns underpinning all aspects of the universe”. Her winning work charts the day of a female heroin addict. A founder member of Hibernian Poetry, she has an M. Phil from Trinity College, Dublin. Her recent publication ‘The Woman who Toasted the Owl’ was commended in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award 2011.
Judge Katie Donovan on the winning entry said “ ‘Dreamless’ stood out for several reasons. Like a lot of the entries, it tells a story, but it is a big challenge to be able to contain a story in a poem and for that poem to retain its delicacy and precision. In ‘Dreamless’ we are introduced to a drug addict’s circle of hell in fresh, original language which is rich with imagery. The poem is well-crafted and never veers into sentimentality. Despite the sad and tawdry subject matter, the poem itself is a thing of beauty. It has the rhythmic simplicity of a ballad that recalls Yeats’s own early work.”
The Emerging Poet Prize of €300, for poets under 25 years old, was awarded to James Conor Patterson from Newry, Co Down for his poem ‘Animal Psalms’. The 24 year old poet and short-story writer has seen his work published in a number of publications including ‘30 Irish Writers Under 30’ by Doire Press. He has read his work at a number of different events including, most recently, The Belfast Book Festival and 10 Days in Dublin. James recited his poem via video from France.
Commendation went to American based poet Connie Roberts. A native of county Offaly, Connie emigrated to the United States in 1983, where she currently teaches creative writing at Hofstra University, New York. Her poetry has been published in journals in the United States and Europe. Her book ‘Not the Delft School’, a collection of poetry inspired by her experiences growing up in an industrial school in the Midlands, was awarded the Patrick Kavanagh Award. She is also a recipient of a Literature Bursary Award from the Irish Arts Council. This past May, Ms. Roberts received the 2013 Poetry Collection Award at the Listowel Writers’ Week Festival.
The second commended poet Cróna Gallagher is based in Co. Leitrim, Ireland. Her poems have been featured most recently in Revival, The Chattahoochee Review (Irish issue), Magma, Popshot, The Moth and Poetry Bus 3 magazines. Short stories have been published in Prairie Schooner, Crannόg, The Dublin Quarterly, Drunken Boat and elsewhere. Her collection of poetry is ‘The Doves of the Forest Night’ (Lapwing Press).
Launched in 2009 by the Hawk’s Well Theatre to mark the 51st Yeats International Summer School, the iYeats competition has grown from strength to strength, and the calibre of both competition entrants and judges has garnered this competition worldwide recognition. In 2013, the fifth year of the competition, the Hawk’s Well Theatre received entries from across the world.
2013 Judge James Harpur says “It was a privilege to join the line of distinguished judges who have previously passed sentence on entrants of the competition. The latter – as you might expect with anything associated with the name of Yeats – has a high pedigree, reflected in the quality of the submitted poems.”
The four winning poems are now on display at the Hawk’s Well Theatre & online at www.hawkswell.com.