Poetry Day Ireland programme launched

7th April 2021

This year’s theme is New Directions: Maps and Journeys 

Poetry Ireland today launched the programme for Poetry Day Ireland 2021, showing that the power of poetry can bring us together even though we are apart. 

Now in its seventh year, this day-long annual celebration of the crafted word, spoken and written, is presented by Poetry Ireland in partnership with poetry lovers the length and breadth of the country.   

In line with current restrictions, everyone is encouraged to take part in this year’s celebrations online from the safety of their own home. 

Poetry is for everyone and there are lots of events taking place online to choose from. Mark the day in your own way in your own social bubble, or just take 5 minutes to sit and enjoy a poem by yourself.  

Niamh O’Donnell, Director of Poetry Ireland, said that the past year has shown us just how undeniably powerful poetry is and how it can sustain us through difficult times.  

“This year, Poetry Day Ireland takes place again as a virtual festival, and we’re delighted it gives everyone, no matter where they are, the opportunity to participate and engage with others,” she said. “Poetry Day offers an opportunity whether online or not, to take a moment to enjoy, appreciate and celebrate poetry. Our theme this year of ‘New Directions: Maps and Journeys’ is a hopeful one as we can review the paths we’ve taken and we can finally look forward to being able to plan travelling further afield again, in reality or in our imaginations.”

This year’s theme ‘New Directions: Maps and Journeys’ is both literal and metaphorical. We use maps to orientate ourselves in the world, to show us where we’ve come from and which new direction we’re heading in. We also think about what it means to go off map or to take the road less travelled. There is no limit to where our imaginations can take us.   

Each year, following an open call, Poetry Ireland chooses a number of BRIGHT IDEAS which are supported by a grant to present their event on Poetry Day Ireland. This year they are:  

  • Placing Poems - an online, interactive map offering a chance to write about new and imagined journeys away from the stifling reality of the pandemic
    For much of the past year, we’ve been restricted by contours, parameters, real or  imagined. Placing Poems is an opportunity to write about these journeys and place  them on a public, interactive map. From visiting a new bakery to sailing to Gola Island,  write about any journey, no matter how grand or small. All contributions will be combined , representing many poetic journeys and creating a poetic cartography of anticipated adventures for everyone to enjoy. 
  • Path to the Poem - six international storytellers and writers are invited to share selected poems, and the stories behind their choices. Is there a memory that resonates? What was the journey that inspired them to write a piece? What was their path to the poem? Featuring: Niceol Blue, Peter Chand, Nuala Hayes, Charles Leggett, Órla Mc Govern and Liz Weir. 
  • Deep Routes Poetry Exchange - a Poetry Day Ireland event in association with Narrative 4 with the support of Wexford Arts Centre. Emerging writers from last year’s Edna O’Brien Young Writers Bursary, will be paired to share a personal story from the past year.  They will take the thread of their fellow writer’s story in a new direction, expressing it through poetry. The poems will be published in an online and printed anthology, edited by Sinéad O’Reilly, which will be launched at a Zoom event on Poetry Day.  
  • Songs of the Past: Words of the Future Nearly 200 languages are spoken in households across Ireland today. This event celebrates this rich linguistic diversity by inviting youth from across Ireland to write and perform poetry in their native language. Prizes will be available for selected participants. Visit poetryday.ie to find out how to get involved in this online event. 
  • Ó Bhéal na mBan - will trace the history of poetry by Irish women through a two-part bilingual workshop in Irish and English culminating in a poetry competition. By exploring the poems inherited by Irish women, these workshops will inspire and empower participants to forge their own new poetic paths. 
  • One Step at a Time - a collaboration between The Gaiety School of Acting and Poetry Ireland for an immersive poetry walk that will connect participants’ natural surroundings with the words of some of the greatest poets. One Step at a Time is a collection of playlists featuring poems and spoken word recited by professional actors and curated to enhance your springtime perambulations. The playlists will be available to access on Spotify from 29th April for a limited time.  

Once again, Poetry Ireland will make available a series of uplifting Pocket Poems, which you will be able to find on social media and at poetryday.ie  - read, download, print and keep.  

In the run up to the 29th, videos of some well-known faces reading their favourite poems will be released on social media.  

Poetry Ireland’s Poet in Residence, Catherine Ann Cullen, will also hold online individual mini-workshops with slots for eight participants. To apply, see the Short Cut Workshops on poetryday.ie. Videos of poets from The Fatima Poetry Ireland Poetry Circle, reading their own poems on this year's theme, filmed on mobile phones in the grounds of IMMA, will also be posted that day.  

That evening, join us on Instagram for the live announcement of the winner of The Moth Poetry Prize. The winner of the €6,000 prize will be announced at a special award ceremony taking place on Instagram Live @poetryireland at 6pm that day. 

Poetry Day Ireland is for everyone. Register your own event by 16 April and be part of this celebration of poetry – you can register here:  https://www.poetryireland.ie/poetry-day/join-in/registration 

Let us know how you are marking the day at home yourself using #PoetryDayIRL. Full programme details can be found at poetryday.ie