Home from Poetry Now at Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival in Dun Laoghaire. So many wonderful events to attend: coffee and an inspiring workshop with Tess Gallagher this morning, then the Irish Times/Poetry Now Awards ceremony. And the very popular winner is Theo Dorgan, who joined us via the big screen to read from his collection ‘Nine Bright Shiners’ (Dedalus Press). He won from a very strong shortlist of poets; it must have been very close-run. And they are all, in a sense, winners.
Then the amazing Kei Miller gave a stunning – illegal(!!) – performance of poems from ‘The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion’ (Carcanet), having successfully smuggled himself into Ireland from the UK without the required visa via plane, train and unmanned borders. His poem sequences, written in Jamaican English, gain extra texture and humour when heard in the poet’s accent.
Legally here to read with Kei was Tomasz RozYcki, who read some poems in English, then read the rest of his set in Polish, each poem followed by a translator reading in English. It was interesting to hear the contrasting aural effects.
Tomorrow the Spring/Shine Award for a first collection will be another tight-run contest between 4 excellent and very different poets. Again all winners by virtue of being shortlisted. Congratulations to all four: Jessica Traynor, Graham Allen, Jean Kavanagh and Caoilinn Hughes.
And I’m looking forward to hearing Liz Berry read again. She read at the Cork Spring Poetry Festival in a pairing with Don Share, and brought the house down. This time she will read with Daljit Nagra, who I haven’t heard read before, so I’m looking forward to that. And after, who knows? There’s an abundance of excellent exhibitions, reading and events to choose from, and I believe there are some tickets still available.