Cork to host a festival of words

Cork to host a festival of words
Poet Maram al-Masri

DURING the Cork International Poetry Festival, which starts on St Valentine’s Day, the Cork Arts Theatre (CAT) on Carroll’s Quay will be the setting for a series of readings by some of the biggest names in national and international poetry. Admission to each of these joint readings is €6.

February 15, 7pm: Poet and academic Bernard O’Donoghue from Cullen, Co. Cork, will be returning home from Oxford, where he is an Emeritus Fellow at Wadham College, to read at the festival with Wexford-born Katie Donovan, who has published five collections.

February 15, 8.30pm: American Steve Heighton, a poet and novelist whose work has appeared in journals worldwide, will be joined by Canadian Brian Turner, whose has published two collections and has won, among other awards, the 2007 Poets’ Prize.

February 15, 10pm: One of the festival’s highlight events brings together Cork poet Theo Dorgan and Waterford-born Cork resident Thomas McCarthy. Theo is also a novelist, prose writer, and editor, who won The Irish Times Poetry Now Award for his collection Nine Bright Shiners. Tom has won The Patrick Kavanagh Award, The Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize and the Ireland Fund Annual Literary Award. His most recent collection, Pandemonium, was published late last year.

February 16, 7pm: Bilingual poet, editor, and translator Paddy Bushe, who has published 10 collections, will read with award-winning Macedonian poet Nikola Madzirov, whose work has been translated into 40 languages.

February 16. 8.30pm: Syrian-born French poet Maram al-Masri will be one of the stars on this year’s festival. She first started publishing her poetry in Arab magazines in the 1970s and is today considered one of the most powerful voices of her generation. She is a multi-award winner whose work has been translated into eight languages.

February 16, 10pm: The late slot on Thursday provides an opportunity to hear one of Ireland’s greatest literary figures, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, who has achieved a worldwide reputation, read with Sweden’s Håkan Sandell, one of Scandinavia’s greatest living poets.

Friday 17, 7pm: You can catch another Scandinavian, Copenhagen resident Ulrikka S Gernes, who has 11 collections and was first published at age 18, reading with Canadian Karen Solie, author of four collections, including the award-winning The Road In Is Not the same Road Out.

Friday 17, 8.30pm: Carolyn Forché from Dakota reads with Pulitzer prize winner Yusef Kommunyakka.

Friday 17, 10pm: Three poets for the price of two — T.S. Eliot prize-winner Mark Doty, Forward prize-winner Michael Symmons Roberts, and Jo Shapcott, who has the Commonwealth Prize and The Costa Book award.

February 18, 2.30pm: An afternoon session in which four talented poets — Paula Cunningham, Manuela Moser, Padráig Regan and Stephen Sexton will read from the anthology, New Poets from the North of Ireland.

February 18, 4pm: Cork poet and novelist Martina Evans will take to the stage with Hannah Lowe, whose first collection won the Michael Murphy Award.

February 18, 7pm: Award-winning Mojave American poet Natalie Diaz, who is also a language activist, will read with Brenda Shaughnessy from New York, a former Fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation.

February 18, 8.30pm: Author of All-American Poems Matthew Dickman, and Dundalk-born poet and novelist Conor O’Callaghan will read their work.

February 18: 10pm: A tribute to the late John Montague, featuring his daughters Oonagh and Sibyl, and a number of his former students, including Liz O’Donoghue, Greg Delanty, William Wall and Pat Cotter.

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