About Poetry Town

Poetry is the beating heart of community life in 20 Poetry Towns across the island of Ireland this September.

The people and communities of each Poetry Town are celebrating poetry in their everyday lives and surroundings, creating communal experiences, and celebrating the pride, strength and diversity of each town. Poetry Town is an initiative of Poetry Ireland in partnership with Local Authority Arts Offices and is made possible with funding from the Arts Council of Ireland’s Open Call funding, and is also supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

A Poet Laureate has been appointed for each town, and has written a poem honouring and reflecting the town and its people. Each town poem is set to be revealed at a local flagship Poetry Town event between 10-18 September 2021.

Other events and initiatives include schools awards and workshops, beginner poetry workshops for adults, physically active events (under the theme of Poems that Move You), beautiful printed Pocket Poems, available to take away from local coffee shops and pharmacies, Poetry Underfoot, and much more.

The participating towns in Poetry Town were put forward by the Local Authority Arts Offices in each county. Decisions were made in conversation with Poetry Ireland and were based on several factors, including local amenities and local cultural infrastructure.

The selection of each Town’s Poet Laureate was made by Poetry Ireland in conjunction with the Local Authority Arts Offices, and with contributions from county and local libraries. Poetry is indispensable in Ireland, and we are fortunate to have so many talented poets across the island of Ireland.

Considerations for selection were: a connection with the town and vicinity; a thematic resonance in the poet's work; a track record of publishing or performance; and the final and key factor, ensuing a balance of diversity across the towns and country in relation to gender, age, ethnic background, and language. The ultimate ambition of Poetry Town is to have a cohort of Poet Laureates representative of the voices writing in the island of Ireland today.

Background to Poetry Town
Poetry Town is one of four large-scale, innovative projects awarded funding in 2021 under the Open Call initiative from the Arts Council of Ireland (see more in this news story).

Poetry Town is led by Poetry Ireland, guided by its mission to connect poetry and people. Essential to the ethos of the project is ongoing collaboration between Poetry Ireland, Arts Offices, and local town communities and groups. The aim of Poetry Town is to create communal experiences that involve individuals, groups and artists in each town, and to present and promote exciting and ambitious work from people across a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Poetry Town celebrates the pride that we have in our towns, along with the strength, diversity and heritage that each town possesses.

‘Let go, let fly, forget.
You’ve listened long enough. Now strike your note.’
    •    Seamus Heaney, from Station Island