Poetry Ireland has today (17.08.21) announced the names of the Poet Laureates selected as part of the Poetry Town initiative, which will see more than a hundred poetry-related activities take place in 20 towns across the island of Ireland between 10th and 18th September 2021.
Ballycastle in Co Antrim is among the Poetry Towns, and Poetry Ireland, in conjunction with Flowerfield Arts Centre, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, and literary arts company, Quotidian - Word on the Street (Poetry Jukebox), has appointed Kate Newmann as the Poet Laureate for the town.
Kate, who has published five collection of poetry, says she has a special connection to the coastal town (further information below).
All Poet Laureates announced today are either from the respective local area or have strong connections with it, and have been commissioned to write a poem honouring and reflecting their Poetry Town and its people.
As part of the week-long Poetry Town celebrations next month, each Poet Laureate will reveal and present their poem to the people of their Poetry Town at a series of flagship online events, one of which will be hosted in each town. Each event will also feature contributions from other local poets, artists and musicians (further details about these events is available on the Poetry Town website).
Further activities 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 of activities for each town will be made available on the Poetry Town website during the last week of August.
Commenting, Director of Poetry Ireland, Niamh O’Donnell said: “We are delighted we could secure such a strong cohort of Poet Laureates for this exciting new poetry initiative, which is characterised by collaboration and communal experiences.
“The aim of Poetry Town is to celebrate the vitality and strength of our towns and communities, and to shine a light on the wealth of creativity and talent that can be found in them. The diversity of this talent is reflected in the selection of Laureates, which includes both well-known visionary poets and new powerful voices.”
Kate Newmann added: “My mother, Joan Newmann, and I lived in Ballycastle for seven years, and she established the Ballycastle Writers, which is still in existence. We were actively engaged in the ‘Let Me Take You to the Island’ festival on Rathlin, instigated by Heather Newcombe and the Ballycastle Writers.
“For the Arts Council, I held a writing residency, working with all the schools, with community groups and the general public in the production of a book, Lir’s Feathered Children, with a public performance in Sheskburn Recreation Centre. This Poetry Town Laureateship is an innovatory and important project, especially directed by Maria McManus.”
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.