Poetry Day Competition

Lá na Filíochta / Poetry Day

26ú d'Aibreán / 26th April 2018 


Cuireadh Oscailte / Open Invitation

Éist agus Beir Iontas!

Listen and Surprise!


A Multi-media, Bi-lingual Celebration of Poetry Day Ireland in Fingal




What We’d Like you to Do


As the theme for this year’s Poetry Day is Poetry Surprises, we’re asking you to find the "surprises" in a selection of Irish poems and to "surprise" us with your response. We believe there’s something in our Poem Choices for everyone. All ages, all attitudes. We’d like you to pick one of the poems and respond to it with something creative of your own in any medium. For example, you might like to write an opinion piece on Eavan Boland’s poem, or submit a photograph; a short story may springboard off Bernard O’Donoghue’s “Gerund.”

If you're under 12, you might like to draw a robot for Patrick Chapman’s poem; or write a new poem after reading Yeats’s “The Cat and the Moon.” Surprise us! Surprise yourself!

Here are the details:

I. Choose one of our Poem Choices, HERE, and respond to it with any of the following:

  • an image or art piece in any medium (≤ 30kb)
  • a video / gif. (≤ 1 min.)
  • a sonic composition: song / piece of music / sound-sequence. (≤ 1 min.)
  • a text: poem / prose piece / story (poems ≤ 40 lines; prose ≤ 500 words).

II. Email your work to [email protected] in one of the following file formats:

JPEG, GIF, AVI, FLV, MP4, MP3 (10mb or smaller), Word, PDF.

  • Please write ‘Poetry Day’ in the subject heading
  • In the body of the email, please give the following details:

Your Name

Age Category (under 12s, 12- 18, 18 and over)

Telephone number

Email (if different from sender’s)

Title of Contribution

Title of the poem you are responding to

  • Deadline for entries now extended until 6th April 2018.

III. There will be a prize (One-for-all voucher) in each age category for the most surprising contribution:

  1. under 12s
  2. 12-18
  3. 18 and over.

Winners will receive their prize at a public reception at 7 pm on Poetry Day, 26th April, and there will be a performance and presentation on poetry appreciation by poet, Máighréad Medbh, who conceived this project.

Your creative contributions will go live on our Tumblr page on 26th April. They will be on display on a screen in the Atrium, Fingal County Hall, Swords, for the duration of the day.

Some Suggestions for Your Contribution

Think of this as an Adventure in Listening. Listening might be thought of as the deeper register of reading—the physical response when what you read becomes an internal vibration, when it resonates.

  • Read the poem aloud with different accents and tones. You might even sing it. Read it backwards. Record your voice. Listen. Say something different in the same tone.
  • Look at the shape of the poem on the page. Does it remind you of anything?
  • Pick out words and phrases that appeal to you and play with them—turn them around, draw around them, take them as the first words of a new poem etc.
  • Consider the poem's images. Recreate them in your imagination and take them elsewhere. You might see a picture they don't describe.
  • Does the poem suggest any action--from dancing to sleeping? Try a video.
  • Does anything about the poem remind you of something that you own, or someone you love, or somewhere you live, or something you hate? Send us a photograph. Write a prose piece.

If you’d like more ideas, take a look at Charles Bernstein’s  “Wreading Experiments.”


For Junior Contributors

Under 12s: Some Suggestions for Your Contribution

A piece of advice: don’t ever ask poets what their poems are about. They’ll either stare into the distance, or get very upset and start shuffling around as if they didn’t know where they were.

They might be able to tell you where it started, but by the time it gets onto a page, the poem is mainly about Itself. A poem is like a Building. It’s a lot of different things fitted together. A poem is not a cake. You can’t see the ingredients in a cake, but if you study a poem closely, you can see the building blocks. It also contains many !Surprises! Here are some clues to finding them:

  • Read the poem out loud, using different voices. You might even sing it.
  • Look at the shape of the poem. Does it remind you of anything?
  • Pick out the words and phrases you like best and see if you can make them into a new poem, or a picture, or a story.
  • Does the poem make you see any picture in your mind? You might see a picture that it doesn’t describe!
  • Would you like to act out any part of the poem? Does it make you feel like doing anything—whirling, jumping, sleeping. . . ?
  • Does anything about the poem remind you of something that you own, or someone you love, or somewhere you live, or something you hate? Send us a photograph.