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16/09/2021

Mountmellick transforms into the Laois hive of verse as Poetry Town Laois

Week of poetic pleasures promised

Dr Arthur Bloomfield

Poet Laureate for Mountmellick, Arthur Broomfield, pictured with Laois Arts Officer, Muireann Ní Chonaill (L) and Mountmellick Poetry Town Coordinator, Nina Horan. Pic Marc O'Sullivan

Mountmellick will be a hive of poetic activity over the next week under the banner of Poetry Town an initiative of Poetry Ireland in partnership with Local Authority Arts Offices.

This is a new all-island initiative, which will see more than a hundred free poetry-related activities take place in 20 towns across the island of Ireland September 10 - 18.

Poetry Town celebrates the pride that in towns, along with the strength, diversity and heritage that each town possesses.

Laois County Council is supporting this programme and has designated Mountmellick as the inaugural Laois Poetry Town.

It'll be a busy week of poetry and other cultural activities in the town which coincides with Culture Night on Friday, September 17.

The week will feature a workshop called 'Writing poetry - getting your feelings into words' with Dr Arthur Broomfield who is the Poet Laureate for Mountmellick. He is also the first Town Laureate of Laois. The event takes place on Thursday September 16 from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm over Zoom. To register email mountmellicklibrary@laoiscoco.ie.

“Mountmellick has so much to inspire the poet; the hands and minds that made it, the history and culture written into its street names, its diversity enshrined in its motto ‘Friendship through partnership’. I am truly honoured to have been chosen as Poet Laureate for this very special town. Mountmellick sings a unique song, I hope my work will hum to its chorus,” he said.

Arthur is a Beckett scholar. He holds a Ph.D. in English literature from Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. Arthur’s poems have been published in Poetry Ireland Review, Cyphers and many other literary journals in Ireland, the UK, USA and India.

“I'm looking forward to meeting you at my workshop, even if it is online. I'll be sharing some of my ideas on writing poetry with you over the two hours as in, where do we start to write a poem, to rhyme or not to rhyme, structure of a poem, images, and putting thoughts and feelings into words. We'll be looking at a few poems by the masters and advice from others. I hope to be wholly supportive - none of us is Heaney or Sylvia Plath - so let's enjoy the session and see where we can go from there," said Arthur.

Poses & Poems by the Standing Stones takes place on Sunday, September 12 at 9 am with Yoga Teacher, Amanda Conroy and Primary School Teacher, Katie Donoher in this unique combination of yoga and poetry. To book your place register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167531082979  

Phenomenal Woman is the feature on Wednesday, September 15 at 10 am. The women of Mountmellick soccer are honoured to take part in Poetry Town with their specially-commissioned poem, Phenomenal Woman which highlights the importance of women’s participation in sport, and the mental health benefits that transpire as a result. All team members across the ages were involved in writing this inspiring piece, and having their voices heard.  It will going live here: https://bit.ly/3DMPPa5 

The Reveal Event takes place on, Culture Night, September 17 at 6:00 pm. The Town Poet Laureates around the country have been commissioned to write a poem honouring and reflecting their Poetry Town and its people. Each Poet Laureate will reveal and present their poem to the people of their Poetry Town at a flagship event.

Mountmellick’s Reveal Event sees Yarnbombing Mountmellick have joined forces with Mountmellick Embroidery Museum in a celebration of the heritage of textiles in Mountmellick.

They have created a short film which will be a feast for your eye and ear, with specially created pieces from both groups on display in the museum. It is accompanied by song and spoken word from Mountmellick musician Ger Phillips, Poet Laureate Dr Arthur Broomfield, and town poets Declan Furlong and Sharon McEvoy.

In a nod to the loss of the textile industry, Mountmellick photographer Kevin Byrne will unveil six photographs from his collection. They will reflect the poignancy of the industrial decline in Mountmellick, depicting the day of the closure of Mountmellick Textiles Factory in 2004.

Local artist Kate Deegan will unveil a specially-commissioned mural reflecting the unique floral patterns of Mountmellick Work. Kate’s mural will incorporate words from the poem The Sewing Girl to Her Mother  i.m. Mrs Eileen O’Connor by local poet Ann Egan.

All tangible pieces will be on permanent display in the museum. So, once it re-opens you can see the new pieces in real time. The short film will be available permanently at the web address below.

In line with Government recommendations regarding indoor social gatherings, this event will be streamed. You can tune in here from 6p.m: https://bit.ly/3yLuXfN 

Café and Chemist Pocket Poems is another feature during the week. As you sip your Americano or pick up your prescription, expect a poem to go along with your receipt. Amongst poetry by Dennis O’Driscoll, Colette Bryce and Moyra Donaldson, you may receive one by a local poet!

Three Mountmellick poets are included, so you might need to keep shopping local to find the work of Stephen Comerford, Daniella Lawlor or John Lawlor.

All cafés and chemists -  McElwee’s Total Health Pharmacies, Mountmellick Local Pharmacy, Nora’s Cake Shop, The Coffee Pot, and The Hare’s Corner - are taking part.

Mountmellick Library is always a hub of activity. Poetry Town week is not different.  

For further information, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/mountmellicklaois

https://www.instagram.com/mountmellick_county_laois/

https://www.poetryireland.ie/poetry-town

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