LIMERICK poet Jo Slade has been named as the joint winner with Mark Roper of this year’s Michael Hartnett Poetry Award. The announcement comes just a week before Eigse Michael Hartnett, the literary and arts festival, opens in Newcastle West where the winning poets will be presented with their award and will read from their work.
The award, now in its 15th year, was set up to honour the legacy of the late Newcastle West poet Michael Hartnett, and is regarded as one of the country’s most respected, and richest, poetry prize.
Jo Slade’s collection A Painter’s House and Mark Roper’s A Gather of Shadows were chosen, from a wide entry, by this year’s judges, Theo Dorgan and Moya Cannon. In their citation, the judges said both winners were “poets whose vision and technique have been have been honed over a considerable period of time and whose work merits particular recognition.”
They continued: “ In both cases the voice is absolutely distinctive. In both cases there are poems which resonate in the reader’s consciousness and which invite revisiting long after the volume has been closed. ”
Jo Slade lives and works in Limerick and is an artist as well as a poet. She is a graduate of the Limerick School of Art and Design and her work has exhibited in Ireland and France. A Painter’s House, published by Salmon Press, is her fifth collection. Her work has been translated into French, Spanish, Romanian, Norwegian, Russian and Slovenian. She was writer-in-residence with Limerick County Council in 2006/2007 and also worked as writer-in residence at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris in the winter of 2007.
Mark Roper is a former editor of Poetry Ireland and his book The Hen Ark won the Aldeburgh Prize for best first collection. The Hartnett Award winner A Gather of Shadow was shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award. The Invader, an opera by Eric Sweeney with a libretto by Mark , will be performed in Waterford and Wexford in May 2014.
Meanwhile, Eigse Michael Hartnett, which opens in Newcastle West next Thursday, offers a rich and varied programme over three days. See Leader2 cover story for more or go to www.eigsemichaelhartnett.ie