By Ann Marie Foley - 18 May, 2020
Organisers of the much-loved Trócaire poetry competition, which raises awareness of global justice issues, have extended the deadline to 12 June 2020.
“During times of crisis, many find comfort in the arts, with poetry particularly helping us to express our feelings and connect with others,” stated the organisers of the Trócaire Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition. “Adults and children alike can get creative during the current COVID-19 restrictions and enter a poem or poems.”
This year’s theme is the same as the annual Trócaire Lenten campaign: ‘Standing Her Ground’. It is inspired by the stories of hardworking women. One of them, Angela (39), and her three children Nicole (14), Jocsan (5) and baby Helen (6 months), have been threatened in the face of rampant logging in Honduras.
“Women (like Angela) are holding their families together, battling enormous odds, including threats like violence, intimidation and drought, to provide food for their children and are battling to keep their children, and the earth, safe from harm,” say the organisers.
Angela says she knows she is risking her life for the ones she loves: “Everyone in my house has been threatened. We watch the logging ravage the land,” she says. “They just come with their trucks. They leave poison water and lifeless earth behind.”
‘Standing Her Ground’ also focuses on the story of Madris in Kenya. Competition organisers want poets of all ages to consider how mothers like Angela and Madris are protecting and caring for their families and the earth.
The 2020 judging panel includes Catherine Ann Cullen, Poetry Ireland’s poet-in-residence; Aidan Clifford, retired former director of the Curriculum Development Unit; and Trócaire’s Patricia Groves, a published author.
Poets of all ages are encouraged to explore the theme, from a local to global perspective. Each year, the winning poems are published in booklet form and presented to the winners at an awards ceremony. Adults and children, through their schools, can enter the competition. Poems in English or Irish are welcome in all six categories, with spoken-word pieces actively encouraged as well as poems.
The 2019 adult published winner was Christine Broe with her poem ‘The Kerchief’ on the theme ‘Land is life’. In it, she writes of a woman gathering the dust and mud of her homeland from her children’s feet, clothes and hair and saving it in the kerchief before crossing the border and leaving their country.
It finishes with the lines:
“and she imagined the apple pip she sucked
might be the first seed she would plant
in this bag of heavy loss.”
The competition is free to enter, and past participants include Eileen Casey, David Mohan, Angela T. Carr, Afric McGlinchey, Dairena Ní Chinnéide, Jane Clarke, Eleanor Hooker and Joseph Horgan.
For more information and to enter, visit the Poetry Ireland website. Postal entries are also accepted.