John McAuliffe, joint winner with Doireann Ní Ghriofa of the 2016 Michael Hartnett Poetry Prize says in The Clare Herald, “In his poem ‘Struts’, Michael Hartnett describes creatures who abide alone, each on their own ‘ledge, / seldom seeing each other — / hearing an occasional shout / above or below / and sometimes and most welcome / seeing fires like silver spirals / jump along the crevices‘. The poem could be describing poets (or academics?), who work alone (on their own ledges) and, every so often, hear good news and celebrate it at events like Éigse in Newcastle West every April.”
“This award is like one of those spiral-like fires. It’s both a confirmation and a great encouragement to receive the award, especially since I’ve been reading and thinking and talking about Michael Hartnett’s poems — the lyrics, the narratives, the ballads — for as long as I’ve been writing,” John said.
This year’s Éigse takes place in Newcastle West with the Official Opening and prize presentation on Thursday 14th April with the keynote address by poet, Rita Ann Higgins, one of this year’s judges along with Gerard Smyth.
Éigse continues throughout the town, in the schools, Library, Red Door Gallery, hospital and pubs until Saturday April 16th – culminating with Colum McCann (in the company of Colm Mac Con Iomaire who will provide musical accompaniment) reading from his work on Saturday evening at 8pm.
The breadth and diversity of the programme creates an ambience of warmth and conviviality that lends itself to lively gatherings, easy conversation and spirited debate. In other words……..