Poetry Town 2021


Poetry Town is an initiative of Poetry Ireland in partnership with Local Authority Arts Offices. This is a new all-island initiative, which will see more than a hundred free poetry-related activities take place in 20 towns across the island of Ireland between September 10th and 18th. Comhairle Chontae Laoise is delighted to support this programme, and to designate Mountmellick as the inaugural Laois Poetry Town

Town Poet Laureate Workshop
“Writing poetry – getting your feelings into words.”
Thursday 16 September, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Dr Arthur Broomfield is the Poet Laureate for Mountmellick, Co Laois. A native of Ballyfin, Co Laois, Arthur is a poet and Beckett scholar. “Mountmellick has so much to inspire the poet; the hands and minds that made it, the history and culture written into its street names, its diversity enshrined in its motto ‘Friendship through partnership’. I am truly honoured to have been chosen as Poet Laureate for this very special town. Mountmellick sings a unique song, I hope my work will hum to its chorus.” Arthur is a Beckett scholar. He holds a Ph.D. in English literature from Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. Arthur’s poems have been published in Poetry Ireland Review, Cyphers and many other literary journals in Ireland, the UK, USA and India.

He holds poetry workshops, when possible, and mentors poets online. His study on the works of Samuel Beckett, The Empty Too: language and philosophy in the works of Samuel Beckett (Cambridge Scholars’ Publishing) is available from the publisher and from Amazon. Arthur delivers lectures, and conference papers, on the works of Beckett, online and in person, to a wide global audience. His current poetry collection is Ireland Calling (Revival Press).
During the Poetry Town programme, Arthur will conduct 2 workshops. One with local community group, Mountmellick Men’s Shed and the other, a public one, will be hosted by Mountmellick Library on Thursday, September 16th from 11.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m., entitled “Writing poetry- getting your feelings into words.”
Arthur says “I’m looking forward to meeting you at my workshop, even if it is online! I’ll be sharing some of my ideas on writing poetry with you over the two hours as in, where do we start to write a poem, to rhyme or not to rhyme, structure of a poem, images, and putting thoughts and feelings into words. We’ll be looking at a few poems by the masters and advice from others. I hope to be wholly supportive – none of us is Heaney or Sylvia Plath – so let’s enjoy the session and see where we can go from there!
Book your place by emailing: mountmellicklibrary@laoiscoco.ie
Poses & Poems by the Standing Stones
Sunday 12 September, 9:00 a.m.
Join Yoga Teacher, Amanda Conroy and Primary School Teacher, Katie Donoher in this unique combination of yoga and poetry. Outdoor yoga means you can literally reach for the sky and feel the benefits of actual grounding. Enjoy the natural surroundings of Mountmellick Playground, nestled beside the Owenass River. This yoga session will take place amidst The Standing Stones sculpture by Eileen McDonagh. It will suit everybody as Amanda has designed the time to benefit practitioners of all levels. This is about being present in the moment, about being mindful, as your restful poses will be gently guided by Katie, who will recite poems to aid your relaxation. This will include one specially written by Katie for the occasion.
Book your place here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167531082979
Phenomenal Woman
Wednesday 17 September, 10:00 a.m.
The vision of Sport Ireland is one where equal opportunities are achievable for women in sport, a place where their full potential is attainable. The women of Mountmellick soccer are honoured to take part in Poetry Town with their specially-commissioned poem, Phenomenal Woman which highlighs the importance of women’s participation in sport, and the mental health benefits that transpire as a result. All team members across the age cohorts were involved in writing this inspiring piece, and having their voices heard.
Going live on Wednesday 15th at 10:00 a.m. here: https://bit.ly/3DMPPa5
Poems from the Library Shelves
Poetry Town Week
Mountmellick Library is always a hub of activity. Poetry Town week is not different. They join in the activities by delving into the archives and finding poems to inspire and make you think. You will spot them out and about on your daily comings and goings. Take time to stop and read. In the words of Niamh O’Donnell, Director of Poetry Ireland, “There is poetry waiting to be uncovered in our surroundings and our everyday lives.”
Café and Chemist Pocket Poems
Poetry Town Week
As you sip your Americano or pick up your prescription, expect a poem to go along with your receipt. Amongst poetry by Dennis O’Driscoll, Colette Bryce and Moyra Donaldson, you may receive one by a local poet! Three Mountmellick poets are included, so you might need to keep shopping local to find the work of Stephen Comerford, Daniella Lawlor or John Lawlor. All cafés and chemists are taking part:
McElwee’s Total Health Pharmacies, Mountmellick Local Pharmacy, Nora’s Cake Shop, The Coffee Pot, and The Hare’s Corner.
Poetry Underfoot
Poetry Town Week & Beyond!
We usually hope for an Indian Summer around this time of year. However, forgive us for doing a little rain dance, just this once. We have a great reason! If we are graced with a few drops, take a walk in the glorious showers and look down. Here and there, you will spot stencilled lines from rain-related verse that comes alive when it’s wet. Poetry Underfoot will ensure you see some precipitation-related quotes to prompt you to bask in the beauty of the rain and put a pep in your step. Just don’t go bumping into a lamp post!
The Reveal Event
Culture Night, September 17 at 6:00 p.m.
The Town Poet Laureates around the country have been commissioned to write a poem honouring and reflecting their Poetry Town and its people. Each Poet Laureate will reveal and present their poem to the people of their Poetry Town at a flagship event. Mountmellick’s Reveal Event will take place on Culture Night.
“Destiny itself is like a wonderful wide tapestry in which every thread is guided by an unspeakable tender hand, placed beside another thread and held and carried by a hundred others.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
Yarnbombing Mountmellick have joined forces with Mountmellick Embroidery Museum in a celebration of the heritage of textiles in Mountmellick. They have created a short film which will be a feast for your eye and ear, with specially created pieces from both groups on display in the museum, accompanied by song and spoken word from Mountmellick musician Ger Phillips, Poet Laureate Dr Arthur Broomfield, and town poets Declan Furlong and Sharon McEvoy. As a nod to the loss of the textile industry, Mountmellick photographer Kevin
Byrne will unveil 6 photographs from his collection. They will reflect the poignancy of the industrial decline in Mountmellick, depicting the day of the closure of Mountmellick Textiles Factory in 2004.
Local artist Kate Deegan will unveil a specially-commissioned mural reflecting the unique floral patterns of Mountmellick Work. Kate has recently had her work included in the outdoor drive-by art exhibition at Laois County Council Plaza, “Fadó Faces”. The Creative Ireland initiative celebrating the lives and stories of older people in Laois, through traditional portrait painting and digital art by a selection of local artists, will be an annual showcase of twenty or more portraits and stories of older Laois people, documented over the years and eventually culminating in a rich portrait collection of people in Laois. Kate’s mural will incorporate words from the poem THE SEWING GIRL TO HER MOTHER- i.m. Mrs Eileen O’Connor by local poet Ann Egan. Ann’s poem recalls the quiet time spent by her Mother’s side, learning the craft of needlework. A former Writer-in-Residence at Comhairle Chontae Laoise, Ann’s poem, from her book Landing the Sea, won First Prize in Listowel Writers’ Week, and The Annaghmakerrig Award.
All tangible pieces will be on permanent display in the museum. So, once it re-opens you can see the new pieces in real time. The short film will be available permanently at the web address below.
In line with Government recommendations regarding indoor social gatherings, this event will be streamed.
You can tune in here from 6p.m: https://bit.ly/3yLuXfN
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:

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