Inniskeen Road: September weekendDo you have 20 poems that could be the basis for a debut collection? If so, you still have 48 hours to enter this year’s Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Competition, the deadline of which has been extended to this coming Monday. The competition, now in its 41st year, numbers among its previous winners Paul Durcan, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Thomas McCarthy, Peter Sirr and Sinéad Morrissey.
The award is for a first unpublished collection of poems in English by an Irish poet or poet resident in Ireland. Individual poems in the collection should not be more than 40 lines and should be either magazine-published or unpublished. The winner of this year’s competition, judged by the poet Brian Lynch, will receive €1,000, a prize that will be presented on September 28th, at the opening of the annual Patrick Kavanagh Weekend in Inniskeen, Co Monaghan.
You’ll find the rules and an entry form at patrickkavanaghcountry. com, or call 042-9378560.
A gentle introduction to creative writing
Galway Technical Institute has announced two creative-writing courses for this autumn, taught by the writers Kevin Higgins and Susan Millar DuMars. Higgins’s class, for beginners, will take place on Monday evenings over eight weeks, commencing on September 24th, and will involve writing exercises and gentle critical feedback.
On Tuesday evenings, also over eight weeks, DuMars’s intermediate course is for those who have participated in writing classes before or have been published in magazines. There will be exercises and study of the works of published writers, with the aim of helping class members to find their own writing voices. Booking, later this month, is essential for both courses, which each cost €120; call 091-581342 or see gti.ie.
DuMars will also be giving a beginners’ writing course at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, starting on the evening of Wednesday, September 26th, and costing €95. For details, call 091-742145 or see gmit.ie.
Another reason to visit old Skibbereen
As WB Yeats stands motionless by the sea, incapable of continuing his latest play, he is visited by a muse in the form of a Japanese Noh spirit. Struck by its majesty, Yeats is able to complete his play. Where? Well, Skibbereen, Co Cork, where the final performance of Yeats in Noh is on this lunchtime, at 1pm, in Baby Hannah’s, as part of Skibbereen Arts Festival, which finishes today.
This unusual study of Yeats is presented by the London and Tokyo-based Performance Exchange, an independent touring theatre company that has brought its work to more than 35 countries.
Give Maeve Binchy a deadline . . .
Among those who knew her, and loved her work, there has been unanimity in this sad week about Maeve Binchy’s energy and generosity, an impression confirmed when she wrote her final book review for these pages, in April this year. Called to the phone, she immediately expressed delight at the idea of reviewing Kathleen MacMahon’s debut novel, This Is How It Ends, later to become a fixture in the bestseller lists.
Brushing aside concerns about her health and whether she needed more time to come up with her copy, she said: “Never give a journalist a long deadline; it just makes us lazy.”
In the event, she filed a lively and enthusiastic review a couple of weeks ahead of time, making it clear that any suggested editorial changes were fine by her.
The perfect reviewer.