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Poetry as Commemoration - an all island project

Thursday 26th August 2021 at 11am 0 Comments

The Irish Poetry Reading Archive at UCD Library has been awarded €370,000 by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media for an all island project entitled Poetry as Commemoration.

Poetry can address the effect of significant events on the lives of ordinary people, while simultaneously promoting a shared understanding of events. This project, part of the Creative Imagination strand of the Decade of Centenaries, will use poetry as a means to deepen our collective understanding of Ireland's past and to explore a challenging period of our history, relating to the Struggle for Independence and Civil War, in a spirit of openness and inclusivity.

The Irish Poetry Reading Archive will work in partnership with Poetry Ireland and will collaborate with a diverse range of poets, institutions, groups, and individuals across the island of Ireland. A core component of this project is to commission a selection of poems - in English and in Irish - on topics, themes and events inspired by primary source materials relating to the War of Independence and Civil War that are held in archives across the island.

The project will also deliver an innovative programme of events, including an extensive programme of creative writing workshops for adults and children across the island of Ireland. Opportunities will be provided for communities to work with and learn from original documents held in local archives and to draw inspiration for new creative works. Poetry readings, online exhibitions, a symposium, a ‘poetry in public spaces’ initiative, and a dedicated website hosting a virtual poetry wall are among a range of anticipated opportunities for engagement with poetry as a form of commemoration, created by this initiative. Materials from this project will be preserved in the Irish Poetry Reading Archive for future generations.

Minister Martin said:

“This is an exciting new partnership between UCD Library's Poetry Reading Archive and my Department. ‘Poetry as Commemoration’ is a really important opportunity for us all to consider and explore, in a creative way, some of the significant themes and events associated with the emerging Irish State, grounded in engagement with the collections from national and local archives, relating to the War of Independence and the Civil War.

‘Poetry as Commemoration’ is a multifaceted project which will provide rich and varied opportunities for meaningful engagement with people of all ages across the island of Ireland. I welcome, too, the project’s collaborative approach and I wish all of the participating partners every success”.

Evelyn Flanagan and Ursula Byrne of UCD Library and Associate Professor Lucy Collins of the UCD School of English, Drama and Film the co-founders of the Irish Poetry Reading Archive said:

"We are delighted with the Government’s support for this two-year creative project. This is a great opportunity for the Irish Poetry Reading Archive, working in collaboration with Poetry Ireland, to facilitate a journey of discovery that will engage writers of all ages and levels of experience, encouraging them to draw inspiration from archival material relating to the War of Independence and Civil War. Poetry plays an important role in our collective understanding of Ireland's past and will help us to explore this challenging period of our history in new and inclusive ways. It is a great honour for UCD Library’s Irish Poetry Reading Archive to lead this project".

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