December Poetrybeat: Pockets of Poetic Calm at Christmas

It’s December and we’re heading full tilt to the end of the year and the frenetic celebrations of A CERTAIN EVENT. The good news is that there are still little pockets of poetic calm to be found out there in the big wide world, even in December, and Poetrybeat has the scoop.

Vices, Verses and Sporting Stanzas

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Everything to Play For: 99 Poems about Sport launches tonight in Hodges Figgis, Dublin, from 6pm, with special guest readers Elaine Feeney, Iggy McGovern, John O’Donnell and Enda Wyley.  The first ever anthology of sports poems to be published in Ireland, Everything to Play For is published by Poetry Ireland, edited by poet John McAuliffe, and includes a foreword by Sonia O’Sullivan, Irish World Champion gold medalist athlete and one of Ireland’s best-loved sporting heroes. More info at Poetry Ireland.

And later, two-time Leinster Poetry Slam Champion Clara Rose Thornton hosts an exciting new event on the Dublin poetry scene, Vice & Verses: Neo-Soul Brigade,  a celebration of storytelling and music. Derived from traditional African-American musical forms of expression — soul, hip-hop, jazz, blues, spoken word poetry — Vice and Verses celebrates spoken word, comedy, hip-hop and R&B, with renowned Irish comedian Abie Philbin Bowman and vocalist Funzo. The night includes a poetry open mic with the Vice & Verses house band improvising behind poets, at The Liquor Rooms, Dublin 2 – 8-11pm. More info at Vice & Verses on FB.

Celtic Myths & Poetry Legends

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Poetry Ireland’s Poems Upstairs series continues tomorrow evening (Weds 2 Dec) with poetry legends Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Mary O’Malley and Matthew Sweeney reading from and discussing Adam Wyeth’s new book on Celtic mythology in contemporary Irish poetry. In The Hidden World of Poetry: Unravelling Celtic Mythology in Contemporary Irish Poetry, Adam unravels the many rich and varied ancient Celtic legends which run through contemporary Irish poetry and examines poetry’s inner workings, the wealth of Celtic culture – their gods, heroes and folklore – and its continuing role in shaping Ireland’s identity in the twenty-first century. At Books Upstairs, Dublin 2 from 7pm. More info at Poetry Ireland.


Flying South for Christmas

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One of the most interesting regular poetry events to emerge in 2015 is Flying South, a free, monthly, mental health-themed, arts and open mic night in Dublin. First opening its doors in March 2015, Flying South has found a new home in Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival’s Fringe Labs in Temple Bar. It will host its first event there on 3 December 2015 at 7pm. In addition to the open mic section, which invites people to share their work, Flying South also showcases a wide range of performers. The featured acts for December are Phil Lynch, spoken word and page poet Anne Tannam, and singer Gavin Mee. More info at Flying South on FB.

Poetry Around Ireland

Other events to look out for around the country:

Purely Poetry (Belfast, 4 December) Open mic night.

Ó Bhéal (Cork, 4, 14 December) featuring international poets Rosalie Hirs and Phillipe Beck, plus open mic.

Over the Edge Poetry Reading & Open Mic (Galway, 17 December), featuring UK poet, Kim Moore, plus open mic.

As ever, keep an eye out for all the fab poetry stuff on Headstuff, including our new monthly series, MONOGRAPH, featuring a group of new poems by one poet — this month, Scottish poet Gillian Prew — in an illustrated pamphlet.

Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize 2015

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December 31 is the deadline for the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize 2015, in association with The Moth Magazine and, with a first prize of €10,000 for a single unpublished poem, it’s one of the richest poetry prizes around. This year’s judge – Billy Collins – is a two-term US Poet Laureate and ‘the most popular poet in America,’ according to the New York Times. The shortlist will be announced in March 2016, and the four shortlisted poems will be published in the spring issue of The Moth. More info at The Moth Magazine. Good luck!

Christmas Poem

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Finally, just to get you in the mood, a seasonal poem from Dublin-based poet, and sometime Poetry Diva, Maeve O’Sullivan.


This afternoon I lost
a Christmas carol.

It seemed to vaporize
into digitally thin air

between tracks. Santa 
Nicholas, an old tune, maybe

an angel reclaimed it,
sucking the notes back in

to her lungs, revived
on a pillowy cloud,

unmarked by sleigh-blades
or reindeers’ hooves.

If you have a poetry event coming up in January that you’d like to see featured here, send details to [email protected] by 25 December, for inclusion in next month’s Poetrybeat.

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