Friday, 13 March 2009

A World Book Day Gathering of Clare’s Young Poets

Terry McDonagh & BoxesFinalists in Clare County Library’s Poetry Celebration came together to read their poems for a large audience of children, parents and teachers at Ennis Town Council’s Waterpark House on Thurs the 5th of March, World Book Day.

Hundreds of entries were judged in four different categories by Terry McDonagh, an Irish poet and dramatist of international acclaim. He has published several collections of poetry, a book of letters, a novel for young people and, in 2006, a collection of poetry for young people called BOXES. He has been writer in residence in Australia, Asia, several European countries and in Ireland where he was resident writer in Coole Park, County Galway, in 2006. Now living in County Mayo, Terry will be known to teachers and schoolchildren from his workshops in Clare library branches which he visited during Children’s Book Festival 2008. He has also organised and presented creative writing workshops, drama workshops, in-service courses for teachers and poetry readings for children and adults all over Ireland in recent years.

“In all about 700 entries from both primary and secondary schools flooded their way into the library and then on to me” said Terry. “Subjects ranged from colours to football to half-broken hearts. I managed to whittle the total number of entries down to about 80 and these will be included in an anthology published by the library. At a time when we hear nothing but tales of downturn and woe, it is vitally important that we continue to fill our minds with quality, imagination and creativity. The library’s initiative to encourage collaboration between the library and schools in the county is a positive step to encourage this. We are seen as a literary people in many countries, and having read the students’ scripts, I feel certain that our poetic future is in safe hands. We can only wish that a number of these young people who participated in the poetry competition will benefit from their poetic journey.”

The children’s poems will be published in the coming months by Clare County Library and each finalist will receive copies of the publication, which will also be stocked in all branches of Clare County Library. The winning poems were submitted by children from the following Primary Schools; Barefield, Sixmilebridge, Lahinch, Ballycar, Meelick, Mol an Oige, Ennistymon, Killaloe Boys National School, Lakyle, Gaelscoil Mhichil Chiosog, Knockanean, Quin, Liscannor, Corofin, Scoil Chriost Ri Cloughleigh, St. Aidan’s Shannon, and Connolly National School. Poetry from two post-primary schools were also shortlisted for publication; Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon and St. Caimin’s Community School, Shannon.

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