Recipe for Inspiration: Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize & Awards Event

Ireland has a reputation the world over for its poetry, literature, music, and friendliness and now that passion for words and prose is given proper reverence with the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize.

Launched this past summer in Dublin, the competition invited poets to submit any original, previously unpublished work. Almost 1,000 entries from Ireland and around the world were received and three prizes will be awarded this Sunday, March 25th at The Grain Store at Ballymaloe in conjunction with Moth Magazine.

Speaking about the forthcoming event, Ballymaloe’s own Darina Allen remarked, “A little poetry enriches all of our daily lives so I am delighted to sponsor this prize. Due to the response to the competition, we are more encouraged than ever to celebrate the arts”. The prize giving event promises to play host to some of Ireland’s most captivating creative and literary figures. There will be readings by poet (and judge) Matthew Sweeney, whose most recent collection was shortlisted for The Irish Times/Poetry Now Award and the T. S. Eliot Prize, and the winning poets. The Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan is also expected to attend.

Of the poems in the competition, only three winning entries and five honorable mentions were selected by Matthew Sweeney. First prize is €2,000, second prize is €1,000, and third prize is €500. Well, Irish novelist Robert Graves was almost right when he said, ““There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.” Definitely no poetry in money. The winners of the 2011 Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize are:

The first prize goes to Paul McMahon for his poem ‘Bourdon’. Originally from Belfast, Paul is a professional musician. His poems have been shortlisted for many prizes, including the Bridport Prize in 2011, but this is his first major win.

Sarah Clancy receives second prize for her poem ‘I Crept Out’. Sarah is from Galway and was the Cuirt International Festival of Literature Grand Slam Champion in 2011. Her second collection of poetry, Thanks for Nothing, Hippies, will be launched at the Cuirt Festival in April this year.

The third prize goes to ‘The Fisherman’ by Lydia Macpherson, who grew up in the Yorkshire Pennines and now lives near Cambridge. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway University of London and her poems are widely published in magazines and anthologies.

Matthew Sweeney also commented on these poems, which will also be read at the prize giving ceremony on Sunday:

‘Winter Solstice Poem’ by Josephine Dickinson
‘Friendly Fire’ by Padraic Harvey
‘Soldier and Piano’ by Kona Macphee
‘Vico: On the State’ by Laurence O’Dwyer
‘Girl with a Bag in Barcelona’ by Adam Wyeth

If you’d like to read these poems (or if you love poetry and can’t believe you don’t already have a subscription), you may purchase the Spring 2012 issue of or a year’s subscription to Moth Magazine here.

If you wish to attend the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize giving event at The Grain Store this Sunday, March 25th from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., email to reserve your place. This event is free and a perfect evening for poetry lovers or just those who may be interested in hearing poetry be read and appreciated.

Darina Allen to celebrate the arts as the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize proves to be a recipe for inspiration.

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