‘No poem is an island’ says Poetry Day Ireland curator Martina Evans

‘No poem is an island’ says Poetry Day Ireland curator Martina Evans

ORGANISERS at the annual Poetry Day Ireland event have announced their plans for 2023.

This year the popular literary initiative – an island-wide celebration of poetry which invites the nation to read, write, and share a poem on the day - will take place on Thursday, April 27.

As always, all are welcome to get involved on the day, with participation encouraged from artists, venues, schools, hospitals, community groups, poetry-lovers, and more.

And this year’s theme will be ‘Message in a Bottle’ as chosen by this year’s event curator Martina Evans.

The acclaimed poet, born in rural Co. Cork but now living in London, claims she chose this theme to remind us that “a poem can be a message in a bottle, sent out in the – not always greatly hopeful – belief that somewhere and sometime it could wash up on land, on heartland perhaps”.

She added: “Poems in this sense too are under way: they are making towards something.”

Poetry fans are invited to draw inspiration from the theme in any way they see fit – “from the container and the information therein through to the ecology of the glass and even the paper a poem is written on”, a Poetry Day Ireland spokesperson said.

“Issues of migration and the movement of both words and people will also feature, highlighting the efficiency with which poems can spread ideas and images.”

Explaining the theme further, Ms Evans said: “Paul Celan’s idea of a poem as a message in a bottle reminds us that no poem is an island, it needs a reader to complete the process. “Poems are waiting for the reader to uncork the bottle and rediscover the poem, experience that intimate connection across oceans real and metaphorical.

“No special equipment is needed,” she adds, “only a willingness to participate and connect."

Evans explains: “A poem must be compact to float within the walls of its container, yet the possibilities are miraculously endless, it’s a song but it can also tell a story or a joke, paint a picture, bring news, pass on wisdom, give shelter, advice or knowledge, travel time, praise, lament or incant – the reader just needs to open that bottle."

Individuals and organisers can register their Poetry Day events here from Thursday, February 2.

Registration for the event will close on Sunday, March 19.

Meet the poet…

Martina Evans grew up in County Cork and trained in St Vincents Dublin as a radiographer before moving to London in 1988.

She is the author of twelve books of poetry and prose.

Now We Can Talk Openly About Men (Carcanet 2018) was shortlisted for the 2019 Irish Times Poetry Now Award, the Pigott Poetry Prize and the Roehampton Poetry Prize and was an Observer, TLS and Irish Times Book of the Year.

American Mules, (Carcanet 2021) won the Pigott Poetry Prize in 2022 and was a TLS and Sunday Independent Book of the Year.

She is also a Royal Literary Fund Advisory Fellow and an Irish Times poetry critic.