I heard that Grace Wells won the Strong prize for her first collection When God Has Been Called Away to Greater Things published by Dedalus. Many congratulations and, again, a strong shortlist.
I went to 4 o’clock reading. Actually I was late, not through any fault of my own for once. The traffic on the blue sky afternoon in Dun Laoghaire was completely snarled up and the car park full with a big queue so I had to park miles away and jog in late, to a back seat.
First Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill who did some of her mermaid poems, which I’m not a huge fan of. I know they’re metaphors for our time and all that but they don’t work for me. I preferred her other poems but, not having more than a few words of Irish, the breaks when she read them in Irish broke it up too much for me.
Then Don Paterson, probably the highlight of the festival for me. A witty Scot with cleve, thoughtful poems, some from his award winning collection Rain and some new ones. One inspired by Battlestar Galactica. Great stuff.
The festival ended with heatfelt thanks from the stage by Belinda McKeon as her curatorship came to a natural end. I hope Poetry Now, in its new blended home at the Mountains to the Sea festival, doesn’t lose its identity. The visiting poets both home and international have been exceptional but what makes the festival in my opinion, is the audience of poets and poetry lovers.