Naas will be taking part in Poetry Town, an initiative from Poetry Ireland in partnership with Local Authority Arts Offices. An exciting range of activities will take place around the town and online over 9 days from 10-18 September. The Naas Poetry Town programme is supported by Kildare County Council Kildare Library and Arts Services, who actively engage in a wide range of collaborative programming across the cultural realm.
20 towns across the island of Ireland are participating in Poetry Town, a celebration of the pride, strength and diversity of our towns, with more than 100 free activities lined up across all the towns. Each Poetry Town has a Poet Laureate, who is either from the respective local area or who has strong connections to it. They have been commissioned to write a poem honouring and reflecting their Poetry Town and its people.
The Poet Laureate for Naas is Dr. Mary O’Donnell, who will be unveiling her Town Poem at an online event at 7pm on Friday 10th September https://www.poetryireland.ie/poetry-town/naas/town-details/activities/poet-laureate-event13 and the poem will be available to read on the Poetry Town website in the days following the event, and a recording of the event will be available on Kildare Arts Service social media channels.
On receiving the invitation for Naas Poet Laureate, Mary commented, “It's a great feeling to open up an email and find yourself invited to be Laureate for Naas. Having lived in Co Kildare for 40 years, this is the kind of thumbs-up and endorsement that makes me feel so much a part of the county of the Lilywhites, rolling acres, a passion for horses and so much else. It's a huge honour as a writer to be selected for this position and I had a lot to reflect on in Naas, the town and its surrounds. My poem addresses Naas as a place of modern diversity and inclusion, but also of beauty, with its connection to the Grand Canal. Thank you to all concerned - Kildare County Council, as well as Poetry Ireland, for this invitation. It's simply wonderful!”
Cathaoirleach of Kildare, Cllr. Naoise Ó Cearúil said that “while there are many towns in Kildare that could embrace the Poetry Town initiative, the rationale for selecting Naas, as the county town seems appropriate. It was wonderful to invite Poet Laureate Dr. Mary O’Donnell to Áras Chill Dara to read her poem commissioned for Poetry Town.” Meanwhile Deputy Mayor for Naas Municipal District, Cllr. Evie Sammon noted that “while Mary’s poem was inspired by Naas, and specifically its majestic harbour, the poem has a universal appeal and reinforced Naas as an inviting place.” Cllr. Sammon also noted that the timing of the Poet Laureate for Naas was timely given the significant redevelopment of the Town Hall as a library and cultural centre.” Cllrs Ó Cearúil and Sammon jointly congratulated Mary on receiving the accolade as Poet Laureate.
Further activities will include a series of poetry events involving local poets and community groups such as poetry workshops with Poet Laureate, Mary O’Donnell, Poetry Nights, featuring local poets, including Mae Leonard and a family event to help Little Bo Peep to find her sheep! Expect a poetry surprise with your café cuppa or pharmacy prescription. Keep an eye on the streets of Naas for some poetry emerging.
Local coordinator for Naas Poetry Town is Martina Shannon. Martina will be known to many for her work in establishing Imagination Station, an art, craft and design centre for children in Sallins, as well as creating many sustainable artworks and exhibitions including the Giant Swan made from recycled plastic lids created for Naas midsummer arts festival, the Giant Butterfly made from recycled tents for Innocent Ireland which now resides in Barrettstown, many community events including the Golden Shamrock Bridge in Sallins and the Watership Down Easter Bunny hunt.
Martina commented, “I was thrilled to be invited to act as coordinator for Naas Poetry Town. It is exciting to work with local poets as well as community groups and businesses to animate the town for Poetry Town. Hoping too, that we have some fun along the way!”
The full programme of activities for each of the participating towns is available on the Poetry Town website at www.poetrytown.ie and the Kildare events at https://www.poetryireland.ie/poetry-town/naas/town-details/activities
Director of Poetry Ireland, Niamh O’Donnell, said: “The idea behind Poetry Town is to celebrate the many vibrant towns and communities across the island of Ireland, through poetry, collaboration and communal experiences.”
“Over the past 18 months, many of us have become more aware of what’s around us – from local parks or nature walks, to landmarks and monuments, to the stories held within the collective memory of our communities. There is poetry waiting to be uncovered in our surroundings and our everyday lives.”
“We are excited to invite individuals, families and communities to join their Poetry Towns, or the Poetry Towns in their vicinity, in a vibrant celebration of the pride in their locality, the value and importance of our heritage, and the strength and diversity in our towns and rural areas.”
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.
For further information
visit the Poetry Town website: poetrytown.ie.