John W Sexton, the newly appointed poet laureate for Limerick with Mayor James Collins and Dominic Taylor of the Limerick Writers Centre PICTURE: ADRIAN BUTLER
THERE will be sessions full of stanzas throughout the month of April, as 26 events and 44 performers take hold in the city.
The Limerick Writers Centre officially opened poetry month this week.
And over the 30 days of next month, Limerick’s biggest and brightest poetry festival will fill the street and intimate venues of Limerick.
The centre has teamed up with Limerick City and County Council for the festival, which will celebrate the city’s thriving poetry and spoken word scene.
This year, for the first time, there will be poet laureate attached to the festival.
The first man to get the honour this year is Kenmare-based poet John Sexton, who last year received his seal of office from Mayor James Collins.
Mr Sexton will be visiting a number of schools across Limerick, giving them the experience of seeing poetry as a living art form that anyone, no matter what age, can participate in.
And even more excitingly, he will be writing a special poem for Limerick, written by the people of Limerick themselves.
For the last few months, the Writers Centre have received words, lines and phrases which sum up what Limerick means to them.
Mr Sexton will edit and compile these submissions into one poem for Limerick, entitled ‘Limerick Is...’.
It will be read at the end of the month.
Dominic Taylor, the founder of the Limerick Writers Centre, said their festival is slightly different to others.
“We continue to encourage and challenge people to look at and use poetry as an antidote to the turmoil and chaos we continually see around us. In this imperfect world, poetry can be a refuge, a beacon, a repository of energy from which we can draw. It is our hope that through events like these, poetry is given a higher profile and seen and read in places not typically associated with poetry,” he said.
As part of the festival, the now famous Poetry Wall installation will be on place on the wall of the Exchange in Nicholas Street.
It will give a home to 30 poets and 30 poems for the month.
Among the performers in the city will be Welsh poetry trio the Rockhoppers, American poet Sandy Yannone, while two events will celebrate the celebrated local poet Michael Hartnett, who died 20 years ago this year.