/ 6 March 2020

CANCELLED: The Ninth Cork International Poetry Festival

The Ninth Cork International Poetry Festival takes place March 24th to 28th. It is Ireland’s largest annual festival dedicated to poetry. Over sixty poets will partake in readings which feature contributions from emerging talents and individuals with global reputations. As well as readings in English there will be readings in Catalan, Chinese, German, Irish and Lithuanian. Many events are free and no event costs more than €5 to attend.  All the venues are within walking distance from one another in a compact pretty city. Cork is a city of waterways, characterised by 18th Century vernacular and industrial architecture and 21st Century high rises.

There will be workshops for people who want to hone their craft and shape their work into more publishable form, manuscript consultation sessions, awards presentations and new publication launches. Special chapbooks will be produced to promote the work of Chinese and Lithuanian poets.

A special event to mark the centenary of Paul Celan will feature the presentation of the first book of Celan’s poetry translated into Irish. Awards will be presented for the best book published by a poet resident in Ireland (The Farmgate Café National Poetry Award), the best single poem entered into an international competition (this year’s winner is a poet resident in Switzerland) and the two best chapbook collections selected from an open competition , featuring debutante poets from Australia and the USA.

One of the distinctions of the festival is that it has presented for the first time in Europe North American poets who later go on to establish international reputations. In the past we have featured Ilya Kaminsky, Brian Turner and Natalie Diaz. This year we feature Catherine Barnett, Rigoberto Gonzalez and Carmen Gimenez Smith. There is a strong showing by Irish and British poets, including Griffin Prize winner Eilean Ni Chuileanain, Forward Poetry Prize winner Jamie McKendrick and young exciting poets Rachael Allen and Will Harris.

Our Versopolis poet this year will be Lithuanian poet Marius Burokas. Marius will present a reading of his poems in English translation to the general festival audience and a reading in his own language to the Cork Lithuanian community. We have commissioned a selection of the best poets writing in the Irish language to translate a selection of Marius’s work.  The resulting dual-language chapbook will be distributed for free to the Lithuanian community in Ireland and to Irish language cafes and university departments.

Excellence has always been the main criterion in selecting a poet to programme. We have found that a diverse programme emerges organically out of such a principle. Our programmes have always featured good gender balance, many poets of colour, poets of various sexual inclination and poets young and old. This year for the first time we see many young poets from Ireland’s recently established immigrant communities emerge.  Ours is a programme well worth experiencing, well worth travelling for.

Cork airport is directly connected with airports throughout the UK and many major European cities. From further afield, connections can be made via Heathrow, London with British Airways, or through Amsterdam with KLM. The city centre is just a 15-minute cab ride from Cork airport. Cork City can be reached by bus and train within Ireland.

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