Messsage in a Bottle

The theme for Poetry Day Ireland 2023 is ‘Message in a Bottle’.  

Poetry Day Ireland welcomed acclaimed poet Martina Evans on board as this year’s curator. Martina chose ‘Message in a Bottle’ as the theme for Poetry Day Ireland 2023, reminding us, in the 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... are making towards something.”  

Everyone is invited to draw inspiration from the theme. The creative potential of glass might provide a jumping off point for eco-poets and canal clean-up crews, while those with experience of migration and emigration might be drawn towards the drift of words and people across oceans. 

Martina Evans said of the theme: “Paul Celan’s idea of a poem as message in a bottle reminds us that no poem is an island, it needs a reader to complete the process. Poems are waiting for the reader to uncork the bottle and rediscover the poem, experience that intimate connection across oceans real and metaphorical. No special equipment is needed, only a willingness to participate and connect. A poem must be compact to float within the walls of its container, yet the possibilities are miraculously endless, it’s a song but it can also tell a story or a joke, paint a picture, bring news, pass on wisdom, give shelter, advice or knowledge, travel time, praise, lament or incant – the reader just needs to open that bottle!”

Adopting our theme for your Poetry Day Ireland event is in no way compulsory, but if you do find some inspiration, whether in the driftwood afloat on the ocean or in a message never sent, we can't wait to see your take on it!