By Ann Marie Foley - 25 January, 2017
The annual Trócaire Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition 2017 is now open for submissions.
“Ireland is renowned for its literary and cultural heritage, as well as for its generosity in supporting those in need around the world. Trócaire and Poetry Ireland’s annual poetry competition brings these two elements together in a creative way, using the arts to raise awareness about the leading global justice issues of our time,” state the organisers.
“This competition is unique, because poets are invited to explore a different global development theme each year. The competition is also free to enter.”
Published or unpublished, spoken word poets and students are all invited to submit poems with the theme “Before the Storm” and which explore how people prepare for extreme weather events caused by climate change.
They can view a video showing how, working with Trócaire, some of the most vulnerable communities in Honduras are taking action to fight back against the effects of climate change. This ‘Disaster Risk Reduction’ (DRR), as it is called, means making a plan to prepare for the next extreme weather event, to ensure the least amount of damage possible.
The video shows how Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Central America, with approximately one million households living below the poverty line. It is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, and was the worst-affected country in the world from 1993 to 2014.
During this period of time, at least 65 extreme weather events affected Honduras, including six of the twelve strongest hurricanes of the 20th century. In October 1998, Honduras was hit by Hurricane Mitch, resulting in more than 10,000 deaths, devastation of the country’s infrastructure and drinking water network, and extensive crop losses.
The poems are expected to reflect some of these realities, and will be judged by poet and former competition winner Jane Clarke, Aidan Clifford, former Director of the City of Dublin Education and Training Board’s Curriculum Development Unit, and Trócaire’s Trish Groves.
The winning poems will be published in booklet form, and distributed to arts festivals and community events, and through schools and poetry readings.
Winners and runners up will read at the lunchtime awards ceremony at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin, and many past winners have gone on to read at events around Ireland, including Culture Night and the Mountains to Sea Book Festival in Dun Laoghaire. Winning poems will be considered for publication by the editor of Poetry Ireland Review.
Both postal and online applications are accepted. The deadline for applications is Friday 17 March 2017.