I was employed by Poetry Ireland to be one of two National Coordinators for Poetry Town, a major island-wide initiative funded through the Arts Council’s Open Call.
Twenty towns across the island were involved, Poet Laureates were appointed to write a poem for each town, and local coordinators organised hundreds of activities of all kinds. Poetry walks, yoga classes, and cycles. Poetry readings in nature, in churches, in pubs, in unexpected places. Poems read over the tannoy in the local supermarket, and at the drive-in bingo. Poetry written underfoot and plastered on shopfronts. Workshops for schools, for beginner adults, and for local community groups. Themed poems handed out in cafes and chemists. All kinds of local community partners empowered to devise their own activities and ways to celebrate poetry and to celebrate their town.
The response to Poetry Town was exceptional – huge amounts of national and local media coverage, and exceptionally positive feedback from poets, coordinators and participants alike.
The Poetry Towns were Baillieborough, Ballycastle, Bandon, Belmullet, Bray, Carrick on Shannon, Carrick on Suir, Cootehill, Dublin 1, Dungarvan, Dunshaughlin, Ennistymon, Listowel, Mountmellick, Naas, Strokestown, Tullamore, and Wexford Town.
Key responsibilities for this role included:
- slotting into the existing Poetry Ireland team and liaising with team members on communications, poem selection, laureate selection, and schools awards, among other things
- managing and remote-supporting 23 local coordinators, and facilitating their mixed experience levels, including hosting weekly drop in meetings
- liaising with local authority arts officers in 18 counties
- coordination of delivery of materials across the country
- managing a budget of over €300,000