It has always been a mystery to me why the whole world doesn’t seem to be as in love with poetry and art as it could be. After all, when something happens to draw attention to it (such as Seamus Heaney winning the Nobel Prize, or W.H. Auden’s poem Stop the Clocks featuring in Four Weddings and a Funeral) books of poetry top the best seller lists. One thought was that you don’t necessarily sit down and read a book of poetry from cover to cover, as you might with a novel; and you have to make the effort to go to a gallery to see art.
The Poetry Project is a way of changing this, and with the support of Culture Ireland, Ireland’s Presidency of the EU became the opportunity. We got three organisations together – the Kinsale Arts Festival, Poetry Ireland and the Royal Hibernian Academy – and set about selecting a poem per week, and pairing them with a short (no longer than three minutes) video… The poems were selected by poet Gerard Smyth, who is also poetry editor of The Irish Times, and by Joseph Woods of Poetry Ireland; and the videos by myself, Gemma Tipton, and Patrick Murphy of the RHA.
Now, week-by-week, the results of this unique collaboration are emailed directly to subscribers, and can also be seen online at www.thepoetryproject.ie. We launched on January 1st, and have been thrilled with the response. It’s free to sign up, and free to view, and people are now seeing Irish poetry and contemporary from points around the world. Won’t you join them and spread the love?
“Niesje” by Clea van der Grijnn