It’s Poetry Day Ireland tomorrow (April 28th 2016), when you’ll hardly be able to avoid poetry as it pops up all over the place.
I will be leading a poetry workshop in Roscommon Library (as will Jessamine O’Connor and Catherine Ryan). The fun starts at 10.30am, when I’ll be looking at what makes good poetry (very subjective!) and revealing some of my favourite poems. Of course for the year that’s in it, the theme is ‘Revolution’ and we’ll take that as one of our writing prompts – but I intend to squeeze every drop of meaning from the word, as well as the obvious.
My personal poetry choices are fairly mainstream – I like Wendy Cope, Seamus Heaney, Roger McGough, Emily Dickinson, Billy Collins, Mary Oliver (and many others). I like poets who use clever language to make me think – but I also like to be able to understand what they’re getting at. Roscommon poet Jane Clarke is included in my selection – her first collection ‘The River’ was published last year, and it is now one of my favourites. (She’ll be reading at Strokestown Poetry Festival on Sunday morning, alongside excellent poets Gerry Boland and Margaret Hickey).
Tomorrow, I will be reading some of my own poems at 12.30pm, still in Roscommon Library, as will some other writers’ groups members, showcasing some of our work with the hope of encouraging would-be writers to join one of our groups.
In Ballaghaderreen Library there’s a display of poems by local writers, which includes me (I think!) but I won’t make it there for the public reading at 6pm because I’ll be on my way to the Dock in Carrick on Shannon to join the Word Corner Café regulars to read some of my poems there at 6.30pm.
Then there’s an interesting evening ahead in King House, Boyle, with music, art and poetry, starting at 8pm. Poet Breda Wall Ryan will be reading, Helen Grehan will be singing and playing, there’ll be some of Jessamine O’Connor’s work, Gerry Boland will be reading, Siobhan Wilmot will be singing, there’ll be art by Emma Stroude, harp and words by John Wilmott and Claire Roche, and there’ll be music from some of the Hermit Collective regulars, Gregory Daly, Barry Stevens and Dee Andrews. Should be an excellent evening.
Finally, on Saturday afternoon, I get to hear how I’ve fared in the Strokestown Poetry Festival’s Roscommon Poets’ Prize – you can read the six finalists’ poems here .
PS The picture is of an otherwise blank wall in central Swansea, South Wales, birthplace of Dylan Thomas – they love their poetry there!