How It’s New York:  It’s at the Irish Arts Center, one of New York’s most important hubs of Irish arts and culture.  And literature is a New York thing (see post on Stinging Fly and its events!)
How It’s Irish:  The poets are Irish, and it’s curated by Imagine Ireland’s Literary Curator Belinda McKeon (check out our review of her novel Solace, and Belinda on the podcast!) and Aengus Woods

I interviewed Belinda for the first PoetryFest for Irish Examiner USA.

Here’s what I wrote then:

Six Of The Best

Gwen Orel Previews The Irish Arts Center’s Inaugural PoetryFest

The Irish have a reputation for beautiful language, a “gift of gab” that infuses song lyrics, playwriting, fiction. It’s natural then that Irish poetry is prized as some of the best in the English language.
McKeon, who moved here four years ago, is eager to introduce New York audiences to these Irish poets, all of whom are at mid-career – all have a few volumes out. She is a writer but not a poet, and appreciates the way a poem “allows us to pin down what we’re feeling. It’s a chance to own our capacity of insight” – something she thinks is easy to lose in these days of multitasking and media overload. “I barely think in full sentences, I’m thinking in tweets,” she explains. “Poetry is an opportunity for people to reconnect with their own intelligence.”
These days, many bookstores no longer have poetry sections at all. For many, “poetry reading” summons memories of overheated wine and cheese hours with young professors earnestly reading poems about the tedium of being a young professor.
But poetry is not just for would-be poets, says Aengus Woods, the New York-based writer who co-curated the Fest with McKeon. “You can see the lively young people who slam poetry every week at the Nuyorican Poetry Café,” he emailed. Poetry is for “anybody who has ever asked a question. It’s for anybody who has ever said ‘I wonder..'”
The Irish cliché of poetry has less to do with self-absorption than a perception that “poetry is rooted in useless nostalgia,” says McKeon. That is not the case of the work of the poets in the Fest, whose writing is “exploding the notion of working with familiar imagery. Their new work goes far beyond the crutches of the rain and the bog.”

Read the rest of that one here.

Now for THIS Year:  
Here’s info from Irish Arts Center’s website.  All events are free!

IAC PoetryFest2011
November 4 – 6
Our third annual showcase of the best of Irish poetry from around the world, presented in the intimate setting of our Donaghy Theatre. 
IAC PoetryFest 2011 features a special tribute to the distinguished and influential Thomas Kinsella.
Featured poets: Nick Laird, Michael Longley, Dennis O’Driscoll, Leanne O’Sullivan, Sara Berkeley Tolchin, David Wheatley
Curated by Belinda McKeon and Aengus Woods
With support of W.B. Yeats Society
Stay tuned for podcasts of readings from past PoetryFest participants and join our email list for our highly anticipated Poem-of-the-Day series to receive a poem from each of this year’s poets each morning leading up to the festival.

Details of all events after the jump!

Friday, November 4

Favorite Poems
Hosted by Alice Quinn, Executive Director,
Poetry Society of America
8 pm
We once again launch the festival with Favorite Poems, featuring those influential, best-loved works, personally chosen and read by participating poets and some very special guests, including Anne Carson, Meghan O’Rourke, Vijay Seshadri, Timothy Donnelly and Marie Ponsot.

Saturday, November 5

Reading | Nick Laird, Leanne O’Sullivan, David Wheatley
2:30 pm
Meet the Poets book signing to follow in IAC Gallery
Poets in Conversation
Michael Longley
and Leanne O’Sullivan
Moderated by PoetryFest curator Belinda McKeon
5:30 pm
Reading | Michael Longley, Dennis O’Driscoll, Sara Berkeley Tolchin
7:30 pm
Meet the Poets book signing to follow in IAC Gallery

Sunday, November 6

Film Screening
Thomas Kinsella: Personal Places
courtesy of RTÉ
1 pm
A Tribute to Thomas Kinsella: Citizen of the World
3 pm
From the early Auden-inspired verse of Downstream (1962) and Wormwood (1966) to the influence of American modernism and the darkly satirical tone of his later works, Thomas Kinsella’s oeuvre remains resolutely beyond the mainstream of Irish poetry. Yet he is, without doubt, one of the most vital voices of Irish poetry over the last five decades, and remains, at 83, one of the greatest poets of his time inside Ireland and out. He lives between his native Dublin and Philadelphia. Join us as we celebrate Kinsella with readings of his work by Irish and American friends in poetry and the arts.
This event supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, a public agency, and Imagine Ireland, Culture Ireland’s year of Irish arts in America in 2011.

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.

One Comment

  1. Avatar
    Maud Gonne / November 4, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Michael Longley is in mid-career? Yes indeed, let this be true.

Comments are closed.