Sally_Ann Duffy, Suella Holland and Fidel Hogan Walsh at Bailieborough Town Lake.jpg

There’s rhyme and reason behind Poetry Town


There’s both rhyme and reason behind the move of the Bailieborough Creative Hub who aim to provide an outlet for the townsfolk with an artistic itch to scratch.
Poetry Ireland had sought ideas to mark today as National Poetry Day on Thursday, May 2, with the modest carrot of funding six of the best suggestions to the tune of €500 each. While poetry recitals form a valued part of Bailieborough’s plans the trio of go-getters behind the Creative Hub - Sally-Ann Duffy, Fidel Hogan Walsh, and Suella Holland - also wanted to provide a spectacle, and involve the whole town in the event, even those whose hearts may not pulsate to the beat of the iambic pentameter.
“It was one of those middle of the night brainstorms,” recalled Suella of her winning idea. “Poetry Town! We could blitz the place with poetry windows, and ‘poetrees’, and ‘afternoon poet-tea’, and all sorts of things like that. They liked it and they said yes. And we said...” - she emits a panicked squeak - “and, now we have to do it.”
The friends set about Bailieborough’s metamorphosis into Poetry Town with gusto.
“Members of the [Creative Hub] group made all sorts of different book art and we’ve actually secured 33 different windows in Bailieborough to display it,” says Sally-Ann, showing us an example – a fusty, unloved hardback book skilfully reimagined through origami into a beautiful feature.
“We went to every single shop and said would you be interested? Can we dress your window with book art and a poem?’ Everybody said ‘Yes, we’d love to’. The whole town is buzzing with it,” says Sally-Ann.
“I’ve making a skirt out of book covers,” Suella chips in, “they’re all Tom French’s Midnight Town. We’ve a mannequin at home so we’re going to put that into the sewing alterations shop.”
The Poetry Town programme pamphlet doubles up as a poetic treasure hunt.
“People will have to follow the trail and fill in on the programme where the particular poems are,” explains Suella. “And there will be a prize.”
Generously they’ve also filled goodie bags with nifty pens, bookmarks, a bottle opener cum mobile phone holder yolk, and most impressively of all, a collection of poetry; there was a copy of Seamus Heaney’s ‘The Midnight Verdict’ in a bag gladly received by the Celt when we met up in the town’s Bailie Hotel. All the books are sponsored by Gallery Press publishers – whose driving force, renowned poet Peter Fallon also made an appearance at the event.


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