The annual Bailieborough Poetry Festival, organised by the Cavan/Meath LitLab writers group takes place as usual on the first week-end of October. This festival is in its fourth year and has already established itself as one of the highlights of the poetry year. Many well-known poets have been guest readers at the festival including Vona Groarke, Nerys Williams, Tony Curtis, Peter Fallon and many Cavan poets including Noel Monahan, Rebecca O’Connor, Heather Brett and Patsy McDermott. This year promises to be another great success with some exciting events planned. As well as Irish and international readers there will be open mic slots to give local and visiting poets a chance to read from their work.
The official opening takes place in Bailieborough Library Arts space on Thursday 5 October at 7pm. This year will see an innovative collaborative exhibition, entitled Stubborn Substances, which includes art by well-known local artist, Michelle Boyle, and poetry by members of the LitLab writers group and is designed to reflect the processes involved in creating art and poetry.
Then on Friday evening 6 October in the atmospheric Murtagh’s Lounge at 7.30pm, Noel Monahan, the Cavan and internationally renowned poet, will officially launch LitLab’s third anthology of poems, entitled ‘Frank Miller Stole My Girl’ which he edited. This will be followed by a LitLab reading from the anthology, a reading by Noel, an open mic session and music by Liam McCabe.
On Saturday 7 October there will be a choice of two poetry workshops, each running from 10am-1pm; one in Bailieborough Library by American poet Linda Opyr and the other in the Bailie Hotel by UK poet Emily Wills. Bookings can be made online on the festival website: http://www.bailieboroughpoetry.com/bookings/.
Linda Opyr lives on Long Island, New York and was the Nassau County Poet Laureate 2011-13. She is the author of seven collections of poetry.
Emily Wills grew up in Cornwall, has worked in Malawi, and now lives in Gloucestershire where she works as a GP. She has published three collections of poetry.
Also on Saturday, in the Library at 2.30pm, the judge for the Bailieborough Poetry Prize, poet Patrick Chapman, will announce the competition results followed by readings by the winning poets, a reading by Patrick Chapman and an open mic session. Patrick has published of seven poetry collections, two plays, two novellas and one short story collection.
The festival concludes on Saturday evening, beginning at 7.30pm in Murtagh’s Lounge with poetry readings by the guest poets, Linda Opyr and Emily Wills. This will be followed by a reading by the Irish poet, Gerard Smyth who is currently the Irish Times’ poetry editor. Gerard has strong links to the Wilkinstown area of Co. Meath and recently his collaboration with artist Seán McSweeney in exploring their personal connections to that area resulted in the book and exhibition, The Yellow River, with poems by Smyth and watercolours and drawings by McSweeney.
The evening and festival will conclude with music by local musicians.