By Ann Marie Foley - 07 March, 2018
Eleven million Syrians are fleeing war according to Trócaire’s video promoting an annual poetry competition. In association with Poetry Ireland, the aid agency is running a poetry contest to raise awareness about the current justice issues around the world.
“Exploring global justice through art forms such as poetry, performance, music and painting, is a fun and creative way to engage young people in complex issues. The competition also connects to the formal schools’ curriculum across many subjects, including Geography and English,” state the organisers.
This year, teachers also have the option to receive Certificates of Participation from Trócaire, for all of their students who enter the competition. The annual competition is open for entries until St Patrick’s Day. Prizes will be presented at a ceremony in the National Library of Ireland in late May.
Participants in the competition are invited to explore the theme ‘Until Love Conquers Fear’. It is illustrated with videos of four situations in different parts of the world to inspire writers. These include; Surviving Conflict in Syria; Empowering Women in Rwanda; Defending Land in Honduras and Hunger in East Africa. There is also a written manifesto for the theme (see below). Winning poems for the last five years can also be seen in online booklets via the Trócaire website.
The judges for 2018 are Aidan Clifford, formerly of the CDETB Curriculum Development Unit, poet Nessa O’Mahony, and Trócaire’s Patricia Groves. Over the years, the panel of judges has included well-known, established Irish poets, editors and academics such as Mary Shine Thompson, John F Dean, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Theo Dorgan.
The competition is free to enter and is open to young people and adults alike, at all stages in their writing careers – published and un-published, and spoken word poets. Many published writers have participated in the competition in previous years, such as David Butler, Lorraine Carey, and Angela T Carr who won prizes in the 2017 competition.
Poems in English or Irish, written or spoken word, are welcome in all categories which include: Adult published and non-published; Post-Primary Schools in junior and senior cycles; and Primary Schools junior 3rd- 4th Class and senior 5th- 6th Class. There are a number of prizes for adult and school competitors.
“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, Co Dublin. Winning poems will be considered for publication by the editor of Poetry Ireland Review,” state the organisers.
The winning poems will also be published in booklet form, and distributed to arts festivals and community events, and through schools and poetry readings.
The Until Love Conquers Fear manifesto:
Fear is the deafening sound of war.
Love is the hand that quietens it.
Fear is the voice that’s never heard.
Love is breaking the silence.
Fear is the truth that’s locked in the dark.
Love is the courage that frees it.
Fear is the hunger that starves all hope.
Love is the food that feeds it.
As long as pain exists, as long as suffering is here,
We will stay.
Trócaire. Until love conquers fear.
For further details see: https://www.trocaire.org/getinvolved/poetry-competition