Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Strokestown International Poetry festival

"Are you here for here for the international poetry festival?"
"How did you know?"
"Well, with tights like those..."

Strokestown was a weekend packed with FREE readings, workshops, a launch (Cyphers) and a hilarious play by Martin Dyar - Tom Loves A Lord, with music by Anna-Louise Costello. All the shortlisted poets gave readings, the readings of the winning poems were saved for the last night/ finale/results when the judges (Peter Fallon, James Harpur) said a few words about what impressed them about each poem before the final announcement.

First prize went to Jane Routh, second to Pat Winslow and third to Mike Barlow. Peter Fallon said that Jane's poem was the only one they hadn't disagreed about, that cream rises to the top slowly...

I loved Isobel Dixon's poems and Heather Clyne
's work, Heather was shortlisted for the Gaelic Poetry Prize and she only began to learn Gaelic three years ago. Listening to poems in Gaelic, (which I don't speak) made me notice tone, rhythm, repetition, voice and body language so much the more.
I also found Albanian poet, Ndrek Gjini's work quite startling. Peter Goulding, massively talented and prolific fellow blogger and poet was the winner of the Percy French for humorous verse. I missed that award as we were late arriving but Peters collection, The Six Gifts Of Womanhood, is wicked, in the best possible way!

It's a friendly and accessible festival and I can't wait to go next year. Highlights were the guided walk over Slieve Ban
(and the welcome baskets of sandwiches in Frank’s Pub at Ballybeg afterwards), the poems in the pub on Friday night, O Biern's Guinness, the variety and quality of the readings of the shortlisted poems in Gaelic, and the Shortlisted poems in English.


Anonymous said...

Sounds lovely, Niamh, I might go next year especially if they are doing the free sambos in the pub.
Congrats to all the winners and shortlistees and to Peter for winning his prize.

AquaMarina said...

it sounds like a fantastic weekend - great poets and atmosphere - I want to come next year!

Old Kitty said...

I've been to a few poetry reading performances and always come out of them exhiliarated!! I love how the poets I watch bring their words alive - with music, with action, with their voice and above all their enthusiasm! This festival sounds amazing - espeically poetry reading in the pub! Yay!! Congratulations to all these poets! Take care

Peter Goulding said...

Jesus, missus, you managed to get up Slieve Ban in your condition on the Monday morning? Fair play to you.
And many thanks for the kind words!

Peter Goulding said...

Ah you're very kind Niamh. Glad you enjoyed the weekend, though you looked pretty poemed-out on the Monday morning!

Old Kitty said...

Niamh!! Bad Blogger's taken the comment I left here on Thursday!! Booo!! But yay for this fab festival!!!

Oh I said so much more in my first comment but shall leave you with a big hug instead! :-) Take care