Poetry Ireland announces this year’s Versify poets

5th September 2019

Poetry Ireland is delighted to announce that this year’s Versify poets are: Samuel Yakura, James Crickard, Trudie Gorman, Beau Williams, Christie Kandiwa and Philip Edgar. 

Versify, which is the first partnership between Poetry Ireland and Dublin Fringe Festival, will cultivate and spotlight the most exciting new voices in Irish spoken word poetry. 

Chosen from a sky-high pile of hopefuls, the Versify poets perform as part of Dublin Fringe Festival on Thursday 12 September at Poetry Ireland in Dublin’s Parnell Square. This showcase is the culmination of a week of intensive mentoring for the poets by industry professionals. 

Elizabeth Mohen of Poetry Ireland said the quality of entries to this first year of Versify was extremely high. 

“We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm shown in the entries for Versify’s first year, which has confirmed for us the power and potential of Irish spoken word,” she said. “The six poets selected by Bridget Minamore are in possession of huge talent and unique voices, and we can’t wait to watch them shine as part of the Dublin Fringe next Thursday 12 September.” 

Acclaimed British-Ghanaian poet Bridget Minamore selected this year’s participants and will lead the workshops on form & craft and performance. Emmet Kirwan and Linda Devlin, two stalwarts of the spoken word scene, will facilitate a workshop on the business of performance poetry.  

Here are more details on each of the Versify 2019 participants:  

Samuel Yakura is a Nigerian native living in Ireland. He is an art enthusiast who finds expression through the performing arts. During the day, he's a building/construction engineer and by night, a multi-time Poetry Slam Champion. Samuel has graced stages everywhere from ALS (Abuja Literary Society) to OxFam to Talkatives to the prestigious Dike Chukwumerije's Night of a Spoken Word in Nigeria.  

James Crickard is an award-winning poet who writes in a camp, entertaining style that explores personal experiences and addresses LGBT themes. For special occasions, he performs in drag under the name Venus Envy. In 2018, he placed first in the Cúirt Spoken Word Platform and was awarded a slot to perform at Electric Picnic. A regular of the Cork spoken word scene, he has featured at Ó Bhéal, Beats Rhymes and Wine, The Crossover, the Winter Warmer festival, and others.  

Trudie Gorman grew up on Dublin’s northside and works as a community and youth worker. She is co-founder and director of Flying South, Dublin’s open forum mental health arts collective. She believes in the transformative power of poetry and the arts in community work. Trudie has performed her poetry across Ireland and the UK. She has published pieces in Poetry NI and I Believe Her. Her poetry explores the personal and political interplay of gender, class, sexuality, love and fear in a fragmented capitalist society. 

Beau Williams is a performance poet, writer, organiser & facilitator from the U.S. He is currently based in Dublin. Beau has performed his work as part of collectives as well as solo across the U.S. and Ireland along with competing for Manchester, NH & Portland ME in the National Poetry Slam. In 2017, Beau was the Artist in Residence at Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan. He runs the Glasshouse Poetry Open Mic in Galway. Currently, Beau is studying at the UCC in the MA in Creative Writing programme; is the 2018-2019 All-Ireland Poetry Grand Slam Champion; and remains fairly optimistic. 

Christie Kandiwa is a 21-year-old marketing student and copywriter. She is also a poet and singer-songwriter. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in Ireland, her work is influenced by blending her Zimbabwean cultural heritage and her Irish upbringing. You can find her work in Seventh Wave and Unapologetic. Her poems intertwine East-African myth and local languages and forms and aim to empower other young people to embrace and celebrate their cultural heritage within our urban environment. 

Philip Edgar is a poet and writer from County Cork. His poems are forthcoming in Dodging the Rain and Crossways. He has performed in the Crossover and the Garden Collective in Almada, Portugal. He regularly takes part in Ó Bhéal's open mic and other events in Cork. 

Notes:

Versify is a performance-based parallel to Poetry Ireland’s Introductions series, which has produced some of Ireland’s most lauded poets over the past 30 years. This inaugural strand of Versify promises to bring new, immensely talented voices into the limelight, before they step onto much bigger stages in the years to come. 

Bridget Minamore is a British-Ghanaian writer from south-east London and is a poet, critic, essayist and journalist writing for The Guardian about pop culture, theatre, race and class. She was chosen as one of Speaking Volumes’ 40 Stars of Black British Literature, has read her work internationally, and is the co-lead tutor for the Roundhouse Poetry Collective.