Irishman launches lockdown poetry competition to support mental health and wellbeing
Life & Style

Irishman launches lockdown poetry competition to support mental health and wellbeing

AN IRISHMAN in London has set up a poetry competition to encourage creativity and wellbeing during lockdown.

Monaghan native Martin Connolly now lives in Hampstead, north London.

Using a redundancy payment, he has established The Folklore Poetry Competition December 2020 - which is supported by the London Arts in Health Forum as a positive outlet for people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The competition, which is open to entries from across Britain and Ireland, is dedicated to the artist Albert Adams, who died in London in 2006.

It was set up after the experience of the first lockdown, Mr Connolly, a business consultant who serves on the Council of Governors for the Royal Free Hospital, confirms, with the help of the Bloodaxe Books publishing house.

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“I delivered 150 books of poetry to people isolating and shielding during the first lockdown,” he explains.

“The positive feedback and response led to the firm belief that poetry is needed in these times as it brings solace to so many and also helps people be creative and improves mental wellbeing.”

He added: “Poetry in lockdown has become a cultural trend of 2020, with people discovering and sharing new and old poems, finding new meaning, and expressing their own feelings in poems.

“That's also reflected in the submissions we have received so far, with recurring themes of loss, separation, anxiety, nostalgia and parenthood, but also hope for the future and comfort that all things pass and things will get better.”

All entries to the competition must be submitted by December 15, at which point the three judges – radio producer Piers Plowright and poets Sean Street and Jehane Markham – will decide the winners.

Cash prizes and the chance to be included in Folklore Publishing’s first journal in early 2021 are up for grabs.

For further information and to enter the competition click here.

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