Monday, September 10, 2012

Poetry Now Festival, Dun Laoghaire

This festival, which was a stand-alone festival up to now, this year took place as part of the dlr Mountains to Sea Book Festival, though it was curated separately by poet Paul Perry.

I attended yesterday Sunday afternoon and got to two events. I met lots of poets and some fellow bloggers and the general agreement seemed to be that this year's poetry festival was very enjoyable but there was some regret that it had ceased as a separate festival.

The Strong Award, which is presented annually to the author of the best first collection of poems published by an Irish poet in the previous year, went ahead with the assistance of Shine, the national organisation involved with mental health issues. The readings and award announcement was well attended.

Three of the four short listed poets read. The shortlisted poets and collections were: Nerys Williams, Sound Archive, Seren; Eoghan Walls, The Salt Harvest, Seren; Noel Duffy, In the Library of Lost Objects, Ward Wood; Ailbhe Darcy, Imaginary Menagerie, Bloodaxe. Ailbe was unable to attend.

The readings were well done and varied. I'm always interested in to what extent a poet introduces/explains poem before reading it. Difficult to get right. Of course the decision was made before the reading which was for the benefit of the audience. Peter Sirr, the adjudicator for the award, announced that the winner was Sound Archive by Nerys Williams. Well deserved on the evidence of the poems read.

Then I attended the launch of Macdara Woods Collected Poems published by Dedalus Press. This event was booked out - free but booking essential. A great venue, the Dun Laoghaire Maritime Museum, and a large collection of well-know Irish poets assembled to celebrate the launch of Macdara's Collected and his 70 years.

We had music, readings of Macdara's poems by eight friends and fellow poets and reading by the author himself, all capably compered by Joseph Woods of Poetry Ireland.

Macdara shortlisted a poem of mine in 2006 in the Scríobh Poetry Competition in Sligo and the poem was published in the competition anthology, my first competition success and first poem published. So well done Macdara!

Macdara signs his Collected for fellow-poet Richard Halperin.


Padhraig Nolan said...

Lovely to see you there Michael :-) Me head's blethered with poetry today!

Michael Farry said...

I know! Great to meet you too.