Poet and writer Noel Monahan.

Words comes alive in Cootehill

Cootehill poetry champions are working to put together a variety of activities and events from September 10-18.

Later this month Cootehill will be celebrating its status as a Poetry Town with a range of events to stimulate the literary taste buds of those enthralled by words. Local businesses, cafés and chemists will get in on the action by distributing ‘pocket poems’ and ‘poems on prescription’.

Last month Cootehill, along Bailieborough, were among 20 towns around Ireland selected by Poetry Ireland to assume the title Poetry Town. The Poetry Town project aims to connect poetry and people.

Cootehill poetry champions are working to put together a variety of activities and events. They will take place online and in-person from September 10-18.

Under the programme Mairéad Donnellan was appointed Poet Laureate for Bailieborough, while Noel Monahan takes up the Poet Laureate role for Cootehill

Noel will host a poetry reading event with local school students and a poetry workshop for emerging writers. There are a wide variety of activities planned as Cootehill stands ‘Proud to be a Poetry Town’.

All nominated Poet Laureates are either from the area or have strong local connections: “I’m thrilled to be appointed to Cootehill for Poetry Town 2021. I have many literary associations with the town over the years. I have given a number of readings in Cootehill library,” Noel told the Celt.

“One of the first literary awards I won was The Cootehill Arts Festival Poetry Award, adjudicated by Dermot Healy. That was over 30 yeas ago. It really put me on the road to publishing my first collection 'Opposite Walls',” Noel said.

Poet and playwright Noel has published seven collections of poetry. His poetry was prescribed text for the Leaving Certificate English, while his play 'Broken Cups' won the RTÉ P.J. O’Connor award.

Each Poet Laureate will reveal and present a poem to the people of their Poetry Town at a series of flagship online events, one of which will be hosted in each town. This will feature contributions from other local poets, artists and musicians.

Events staged as part of poetry Town include public poetry displays, window displays and a range of physical activities themed ‘Poems that Move You’ for young and old alike.

Noel is looking forward to the Cootehill Poetry Town week: “I have written a poem, which I will read it as part of the celebrations. I want to bring a spirit of creativity to a town that is renowned for its artistic endeavours.”

Poetry Town is an initiative of Poetry Ireland in partnership with Local Authority Arts Offices. It is made possible with funding from the Arts Council of Ireland’s Open Call funding, and is also supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.