Poetry Ireland has 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.
Ennistymon in Co Clare is among the Poetry Towns, and Poetry Ireland, in conjunction with Clare County Council Arts Office, has appointed Grace Wells as the Poet Laureate for the town.
Grace Wells is an award-winning eco-poet, author, re-wilder, and yoga teacher, who says she is very proud to live in Ennistymon. All Poet Laureates 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, Grace will reveal and present her poem to the people of Ennisytmon at a series of flagship online events. Each event will also feature contributions from other local poets, artists and musicians.
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.”
Grace Wells added: “I love living in Ennistymon and am so proud to be invited to be the town’s Laureate. As an eco-poet navigating the griefs of environmental collapse, it’s so helpful to belong to a community where people are genuinely working to halt Ireland’s biodiversity loss, and actively creating initiatives to help the country become carbon-neutral.
“Poetry can support these transitions. Ennistymon already has rich literary roots, it’s both the birthplace of Brian Merriman, and the home of Salmon Press, so I’m hoping to fuse some of these creative energies together, and really celebrate the town’s dynamic spirit-of-place.”
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.