Pictured in Mountmellick at the launch of Poetry Town are Kathleen and Michael O’Loughlin with grandchildren Billy, Aidan and Conor Byrne. Picture: Marc O’Sullivan.
Poetry Ireland has announced Mountmellick in Laois, as one of 20 ‘Poetry Towns’ across the island of Ireland.
A new all-island ‘Poetry Town’ initiative will see free activities in the 20 selected towns.
This Thursday, July 29 Poetry Ireland announced details of Poetry Town which will have more than a hundred free poetry-related activities take place in the towns between September 10 and 18.
Activities for Mountmellick will be organised by Poetry Ireland in partnership with Laois County Council Arts Office.
They will appoint a Poet Laureate for the town, to be either from the local area or have strong connections with it. They will be commissioned to write a poem honouring their Poetry Town and its people. The Poet Laureates for each town will be announced next month.
Each poem will be revealed and presented to the people of the participating towns at a series of flagship online events, one of which will be hosted in each town, which will feature contributions from local poets, artists and musicians.
There will also be a wide variety of additional activities in the Poetry Towns. These will include a series of poetry events involving local poets; poetry workshops; public poetry displays, including ‘Poetry Underfoot’; and a range of physical activities called ‘Poems that Move You’, which will vary from town to town. Local businesses, including cafés and chemists, will also be participating in the activities to celebrate their towns by distributing ‘pocket poems’ to customers. The full programme for each town will be made available on the Poetry Town website during the last week of August.
Poetry Town activities will take place in the following 20 towns:
Adare, Co Limerick;
Athenry, Co Galway;
Bailieborough, Co Cavan;
Ballycastle, Co Antrim;
Bandon, Co Cork;
Belmullet, Co Mayo;
Bray, Co Wicklow;
Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim;
Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary;
Cootehill, Co Cavan;
Dublin 1, Co Dublin;
Dungarvan, Co Waterford;
Dunshaughlin, Co Meath;
Ennistymon, Co Clare;
Listowel, Co Kerry;
Mountmellick, Co Laois;
Naas, Co Kildare;
Strokestown, Co Roscommon;
Tullamore, Co Offaly;
Wexford Town, Co Wexford.
Director of Poetry Ireland is Niamh O’Donnell.
“The idea behind Poetry Town is to celebrate the many vibrant towns and communities across the island of Ireland, through poetry, collaboration and communal experiences.
“Over the past 18 months, many of us have become more aware of what’s around us – from local parks or nature walks, to landmarks and monuments, to the stories held within the collective memory of our communities. There is poetry waiting to be uncovered in our surroundings and our everyday lives.
“Poetry is indispensable in Ireland, and we are incredibly fortunate to have so many talented poets across the island. We hope Poetry Town will play a significant role in helping to ensure Ireland’s diverse and talented voices are heard and seen. We will give voice and visibility to well-known visionary poets and – importantly – to new powerful voices, broadening and diversifying the understanding of what a Poet Laureate looks like.
“We are excited to invite individuals, families and communities to join their Poetry Towns, or the Poetry Towns in their vicinity, in a vibrant celebration of the pride in their locality, the value and importance of our heritage, and the strength and diversity in our towns and rural areas.”
Poetry Town is an initiative of Poetry Ireland in partnership with Local Authority Arts Offices. It 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.
For further information, visit the Poetry Town website: poetrytown.ie.
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