by Toby Buckley, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Poetry Ireland Introductions is a programme which hopes to encourage excellence in the writing and performance of poetry in Ireland, by supporting emerging talented poets in the early stages of their careers. Along with a number of workshops and networking opportunities, those selected for the series are offered the chance to give a number of public readings throughout Dublin’s International Literature Festival. Veterans of the series include Stephen Connolly, Stephen Sexton and Andrew Deloss Eaton. This year, another two poets from Queen’s University Belfast earned their place on the list: Introducing Susannah Dickey and Conor Cleary.
“I remember when I was little I used to walk past the other kids’ houses in the rain. I would stand at the window and gaze in at them, sitting at their kitchen tables, writing poems. The tables had those plastic table cloths, the sort that make it really easy to clean up spills. I would feel sick with jealousy. I remember asking my parents, ‘Can I write a poem?’. They would say ‘No’ and I would be forced to go home and play football for three hours until my nose bled from doing keepy-uppies.
I love writing poetry because it enables me to indulge in the sort of bleak introspection that, if I were to vocalise, might compel my nearest and dearest to have me spayed.The Introductions Series has been a romp and a privilege so far, not least for encouraging me to look critically at my own work. Colette and Theo’s workshops were excellent. The series has also allowed me to engage with the very different styles of some truly wonderful poets, and to read publicly, which, as a desperate attention-seeker, is something I really can’t get enough of. Plus, I got to experience Theo Dorgan yelling about all sorts of things, and that was a precious and beautiful gift.”
“The Introduction Series has been a fantastic experience. It was wonderful to meet so many other poets who are at a similar stage of their careers. We all had the opportunity to go to Poetry Ireland and attend workshops given by the incredible Colette Bryce and Theo Dorgan. It was great to get input from two experienced poets who are so well acquainted with the craft we’re all just setting out to learn and develop. It was also great to be exposed to so many different styles of poetry. I love coming across something I’ve never seen before and getting excited about it and that’s what a lot of the workshopping was for me.
As part of the Series we have readings toward the end of May. I’m half-excited, half-terrified. I’m going to be reading poems about Lucozade, medieval bees, robot spiders and that weird milk they give you in hotel rooms.”
The Gown wish Susie and Conor the very best in all of their poetic endeavours.