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Wake Forest University Press

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"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Éigse Festival Honors Michael Hartnett

This year’s Éigse Michael Hartnett Literary and Arts festival is coming up soon—April 25 through April 27. This will be the 13th annual event, which began in 2000 after Michael Hartnett’s death the previous year. Held in Newcastle West, County Limerick, various events over the course of the weekend will take place in schools, pubs, offices and galleries.

The Éigse website says the festival will “vibrantly honor the poetry and memory of one of Ireland’s best loved poets.” This year’s program envisions Hartnett’s words about lively Irish culture, “the harp side of the Irish coin,” by mingling creative people of different genres. The event will showcase Irish and international poets and writers, in addition to dancers, musicians, singers, and storytellers. The event will be a beautiful tribute to Michael Hartnett and his work, but will also serve to promote the Irish culture that he loved.

Here, one of Hartnett’s poems about his contemporaries:

The Poet as Mastercraftsman

for Thomas Kinsella

Eras do not end when great poets die,
for poetry is not whole, it is where man
chose mountains to conform, to carve his own
face among the Gothic richness and the sky,
and the gargoyles, and the lesser tradesmen.
Praise from the apprentice is always shown
in miniatures of a similar stone.
I saw the master in his human guise
open doors to let me in, and rhythm out.
He smiled and entertained into the night.
I was aware of work undone.  His eyes,
like owls’, warned images from the room.
Under the stairs the must was crying; shields
clashed in the kitchen and the war drum’s boom,
men in celtic war dress entered from the right.
I left, my conversation put to rout.

To poets peace poetry never yields.

Michael Hartnett, from Selected and New Poems (1994)

Categories: Arts and Culture, Michael HartnettTags: , , ,


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