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Shortlist 2014

At the Stop Sign
Jane Robinson, Dublin

Ian McEwan, UK

How the Body Remembers
Geraldine Mitchell, Mayo

The Crocodile Bag
Marie Coveney, Cork

November Rain, Swanage
Robert Hull, UK

The Darkness
Amanda Bell, Dublin

Inventory: Recovery Room
Doireann Ni Griofa, Cork

Shortlist for Poetry Prizes 2014

The shortlist for the 2014 Poetry Prizes will be announced in the coming fortnight.

What they said…..

I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend; the whole occasion was a very special experience for me. I had heard people speak glowingly of the Strokestown Poetry Festival before but having experienced myself I can truly appreciate what a unique occasion it really is. I certainly hope to be back! Yourself and the committee made us very welcome and the festival is a credit to you. To be in the presence of some many wonderful poets was a special treat. Wishing you every further success. ~ Seosamh Ó Murchú

Harlan and I had an unforgettable weekend at the wonderful poetry festival. Thank you and your committee for your warm welcome to us both. It was a pleasure and an honour to be on the Strokestown shortlist. Thank you, again. ~ Liane

The festival was everything we expected, and more.  Now, with the passing of time, I can only think of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz: ‘ But it wasn’t a dream. It was a place. And you, and you, and you, and you were there…’ ! ~ Jim Maguire

Fáilte agus fichid!  It was my pleasure, and lovely to meet you. I came home after your festival exhilarated. Hoping to get there again soon, as a supporter, participant, or whatever.  The festival deserves its great reputation. ~ Ceaití

 Well done to you and the whole committee for organizing such a unique event, I could see it was the culmination of a huge volume of work. We met some great people there whom I hope to see again! ~ Shirley

I’ve been telling everyone what a wonderful festival it is! ~ Pete Mullineaux

Thanks is due to you and all the Strokestown team for organising a fantastic weekend. Our only mistake was in not getting there earlier!! The very best of luck and look forward to getting back to your wonderful Festival of Poetry. It was just great to mix and meet all the people and make new friends. ~ Liam Ryan

We really enjoyed the festival, and were reminded once again of how outstanding is its lovely combination of informality and respect for the poetry. 30+ people at 10 am, in a small village (sorry, don’t shoot, town!) to listen to poets who are not big names, is a very big achievement. You and the committee have done great work, and we were delighted to have participated. ~ Paddy Bushe

Thanks so much – I had a wonderful time and was threatening not to go home – it was a real high point for me to be included on the shortlist with such distinguished poets and I know that in the future I’ll look back at that weekend as the origin of some wonderful opportunities. ~ Jessica

I had the great pleasure of attending your festival on Sunday morning. Thank you so much for bringing such a wonderful event to this area. ~ Anne Maxwell

The atmosphere at Strokestown was just lovely, people wanting to encourage and be encouraged. Hey, what a garden! It must be extraordinary in midsummer. ~ Tom McCarthy

‘I’ve just come back from the Strokestown Poetry Festival in Ireland. If you’ve never been, let me tell you, it’s a heady mix of poetry in Gaelic and English…
‘The festival is unique in that it celebrates the best of a wide spectrum of work. Friday’s opening events included readings from shortlisted young poets from schools around Co. Roscommon and performances from an international shortlist of witty and satirical verse writers. It’s not unusual for this final event to spill over into one of the local pubs and carry on into the wee hours. I’m pretty sure there were one or two hangovers for the start of the next day. The last event on the Sunday is a lively inter-pub competition. Never have I heard drinkers go so quiet when a poem is being read out. You’d be hard pressed to find an English pub crowd that showed such respect. Let me say this, loudly and very clearly, Ireland is a very civilized country.
~ Pat Winslow

‘…Send poems, send money, send friends and family, send your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe where poetry is FREE. But, most of all, send yourself to help ensure that an event as joyous as the Strokestown Festival can continue to thrive in these increasingly difficult and barbarian times. God love you, Strokestown — town and Festival both — for the warmth of your welcome and for the delights which followed. If you did not already exist it would be impossible to invent you… Thank you all for one of the best weekends of my life.’ ~ Martin Parker

‘Congratulations on a marvellously successful festival… Strokestown is the most convivial and congenial of poetry festivals – literally a fireside gathering.’ ~ Dennis O’Driscoll

‘Congratulations on bringing off such a majestic achievement…’ ~  Sebastian Barker

‘A tremendous festival, such a privilege and terrific opportunity to read with Big Names and meet fellow short-listed poets in such a friendly and welcoming atmosphere in the beautiful but homely Strokestown House. The gold on the wall paper glinting behind the poets reading in the evenings, the lambs peering in during the day-time readings, everyone sitting on the sofas, the lovely garden tour and the last night hoolie in the Victorian kitchen are some happy memories. I loved the way the whole community was involved…’ ~ Stephanie Green

‘A great festival…’  Enda Wyley

‘Thank you for a FANTASTIC weekend of poetry. It was a rich and varied feast of work, so many voices I hadn’t heard before and so many interesting new people to meet… I think it’s a marvellous format giving each shortlisted poet a reading. It’s a terrific festival and I’m having terrible trouble getting back to real life!’ ~ Pam Zinneman-Hope

‘My thanks for the warm welcome, excellent conversations, attentive and literate audiences and wonderful setting of Strokestown last weekend… and the chance to meet like-minded people, Paddy Bushe’s poems about Skellig, the two lambs in the crook of the oak tree, the high hill of Tulsk… Your festival is the most generous and convivial I have attended in many years, characterised by high seriousness and a serious sense of fun.’ ~ Hilary Davies

‘Thank you so much for the wonderful time at Strokestown festival, I thoroughly enjoyed the readings and meeting the judges and poets…a very well run and compact offering of events. Well done to all’. ~ Heather Brett

‘Thank you very much for the wonderful time we had at the festival. Ireland is beautiful, and Strokestown uniquely so. Altogether a great experience.’ ~ Gavin Bantock

‘I have not been to another poetry event that was as well thought out and well run….Only your hard work could have made it seem so effortless… The level of poetry read was consistently high, the schedule was reasonable (and it’s great that everyone can attend all sessions), the participants were invariably interesting and passionate about poetry, the judges handled their duties in a highly professional manner, and so much more. We did not miss a single session of the festival, and we’re awfully glad we didn’t, because every session offered powerful and unique poetry, wit, personality and charm. Since we’d never heard it before, the Irish/Gaelic poetry was a special treat, especially since most of it was translated as well as being read in the original, so we could enjoy the music of the language as well as its English interpretation.
‘We also loved it that the festival opened with the schools’ competition and the delightful humorous poetry competition. As Janet said, public speakers are always told to open their speeches with a joke to break the ice, and the Percy French Prize served a similar purpose for the festival as a whole. Who could not be in a good frame of mind after listening to all that hilarious verse?…
…. You put on such a wonderful festival and made us feel so welcome that we can’t imagine never being there or seeing you all again. Once more, thank you, thank you, thank you’.
~ Lawrence Kessenich

‘Thank you so much for all the wonderful readings, and receptions and the Award Ceremony. It seemed to be such a smooth-running weekend… I enjoyed the festival from start to finish.’ ~ Julie O’Callaghan

‘Just to say how much we enjoyed the festival… Every year it seems to get better and better and it really is a huge anticlimax to be driving back to Dublin in the car. Probably our highlight was Sebastian Barker’s reading. For me, it was a jaw-dropping experience – completely blew me away. Looking forward to next year already. Many thanks for a brilliant weekend.’ ~ Peter Goulding

‘Strokestown poetry festival has forged a special place for itself in Irish life. I can sense a caring  for poetry there, with the individual poem at the heart of it. They have an admirably broad concept of the Gaelic, too, that encompasses Ireland and Scotland, and that carries echoes of an older, shared tradition. This offers a treasure-trove to contemporary poets’.
“Tá a sain-ionad féin i saol na hÉireann bainte amach ag féile filíochta Bhéal mBuillí. Airím cúram na filíochta inti: an dán aonair an chloch choirnéil. Tá tuiscint bhreá leathan ann freisin faoin nGaelachas, a chuimsíonn Éire agus Albain agus a bhaineann macalla as seantraidisiún i bpáirt. Tobar domhain é d’fhilí an lae inniu.” ~  Prof. Máire Ní Annracháin

Enter your poems for the 2014 competitions

To submit your poems online you need to complete two steps.

Step One: Online Payment

By clicking on our logo below you will be brought to our PayPal page. You will need to make your payment here before submitting your work through Step Two of our online entry system. Make sure to note your Receipt Number or Transaction ID, which will be displayed when your payment is completed in PayPal. It will also be included in the payment confirmation you receive by email. Copying and pasting it may be the most convenient action. If you are entering more than one poem and/or more than one competition category, you will need to use this ID repeatedly in Step Two, submitting it with each individual poem.

Step Two: Enter Your Poems

After you have submitted your payment, you will be redirected to our Online Entry Form.

If your poems include unusually complex layouts,  please consider submitting your entries through our postal entry process.

Closing date for the 2014 competition will be  28 Feb 2014.

2014 Awards, Rules and Guidelines

Main Prize:

1. €1000

2. €500

3. €200

4. €300 – 3 readers prizes of €100 each

Percy French:

1. €300

2. €200

3. €500 – 5 runners up of €100 each

The following rules and guidelines apply to each of the above categories.

Please read these carefully before entering your poem.

1. Entrants may submit an unlimited number of poems, in any of the categories.

2. There are two ways for you to enter: by post or online.

For postal entries each poem must be accompanied by a fee of €5/£5 Sterling/$5 US dollars. 5 poems has a fee of €25/£25/$25. See entry form.

Personal cheques, postal orders, bank drafts and international money orders, made payable to Strokestown Poetry Festival, are accepted – but they must be in Euros, Sterling or US dollars only. Entrants wishing to pay in other currencies must enter only through the online method and pay by credit card or Paypal.

For online entries, which can be paid by credit/debit card through PayPal, and by following the simple two step process, the fee per poem is €6. If you intend to enter five poems, you must first pay €30 through PayPal, after which you will receive an ID number. You must then use this number repeatedly with each of your poems, submitting them one by one with our online entry form system.

Please note that we advise all poets to consider the postal method if they favour unusual formatting in their work. The integrity of idiosyncratic spacing, for example, might not be preserved in an online submission.

3. All poems must be the original work of a living author and must not have been previously published, self-published, published on a website or broadcast.

4. Poems sent by post must be clearly printed on A4 paper, using a single sheet for each page of poetry, no double-sided printing.  The poems, and payment, should be firmly attached to a fully completed entry form. The name of the entrant must not appear on the poems themselves. You can download and print a postal entry form here.

5. No alterations can be made to poems once they have been submitted, whether by post or through the online method. We regret that no entries can be returned.

6. The judges’ decisions are final, and no correspondence can be entered into regarding those decisions.

7. The Strokestown Poetry Awards shortlists will be announced in mid-March, and the prizes will be announced and awarded during the Strokestown International Poetry Festival, Co. Roscommon, Ireland, which will take place over the weekend of 3-5 May, 2013.

8. It is a condition of entry that short-listed competitors are prepared to attend the festival weekend. All of the shortlisted poems will be posted on the Strokestown Poetry Festival website after the shortlisted poets are notified.

9. Copyright will remain with the competitor, but Strokestown Community Development Association reserves the right to arrange first publication or broadcast of selected poems as it sees fit.

10. Submission of a poem implies the competitor’s acceptance of the conditions set out above.

11.Entries should arrive no later than 28th February 2014, whether by post or through the online submission method.We are now accepting entries through our online system.

The 2014 Strokestown Poetry Awards

Main Prize:

1. €1000

2. €500

3. €200

4. €300 – 3 readers prizes of €100 each

Percy French:

1. €300

2. €200

3. €500 – 5 runners up of €100 each

Margaret Hickey

The Arithmetic of Love

In the beginning we were carried away by each other’s figures
And applied ourselves wholeheartedly to multiplication.
Love used to be as easy as falling off a log.
As easy as pie. Read more

Christopher North

Well, my dears,
greetings from my world of words, word of worlds
I do not faff, I epiphanise.
I am air.
I am tangerine air and I waft through temples,
cloisters and columned places Read more

Joao Morais

Oedipus Rex

Quite long ago, there lived a prince
Whose sense of fun would make you wince.
Instead of polo, he would rather
Have a spot of How’s Your Father.
Prince Oedipus, his friends all said,
Had quite the appetite in bed – Read more

Mike Absalom

The Mole

The goal of a mole is a very big hole
From the very first day he’s born.
The goal of a mole is a very big hole in my lawn!
And if a mole can’t make a very big hole
Then a lot of little holes is fine. Read more


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