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Our top picks for the Irish PoetryFest

By Tiffany Gibert

Calling all Hibernophiles: For three days next week, Nov 7–9, our eyes turn to the Emerald Isle and the verse originating from and inspired by it. A collaboration between two of NYC’s foremost Irish cultural institutions—that would be the Irish Arts Center and NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House—the Sixth Annual Irish PoetryFest brings together writers (not just poets!) from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss, read from and generally cheer on the enduring poetic community of Ireland. So if your knowledge of Irish poetry halts at, oh, W.B. Yeats, this is the perfect opportunity to hobnob with some of the brightest stars influenced by the land of saints and scholars. And it doesn't hurt that verse sounds a million times lovelier when read in that lilting Irish brogue.

But we saved the best for last: many of the PoetryFest events are free and all take place in the Irish Arts Center's intimate Donaghy Theatre! See the full schedule and buy tickets here, and check out our picks for three can't-miss programs.

Fri Nov 7 Favorite Poems; 8pm, $35 includes an after-party with the poets

A gathering of Irish poetry fans—including novelist Joseph O'Neill, actress Lisa Dwan, writer and New York Times Drink columnist Rosie Schaap and comedian Maeve Higgins—read some of their most beloved poems. But the best part is that you get to hang out with them afterwards.

Sat Nov 8 Vona Groarke and Kevin Young; 4pm, free

We're quite keen to hear both of these poets read their recent work; Groarke isn't very well-known in the U.S. but has been publishing and winning awards for her poetry since 1994. Kevin Young caught the world's attention with his 2012 nonfiction book about African American culture, and his latest work, Book of Hours, brings his musical writing style back to verse.

Sun Nov 9 Dave Lordan and Matthea Harvey; 1:30pm, $10

He's the first person to win all of Ireland's national prizes for young poets. She has degrees from Harvard and the Iowa Writers' Workshop and wrote one of our favorite poetry collections of the year. They'll both be reading this afternoon, and we're very excited to hear this transatlantic joining of voices.

Bonus: If you just can't get enough of Irish literature, don't miss award-winning Irish novelist Eimear McBride at the Irish Arts Center on Oct 30 and at WORD (with Jenny Offill!) on Nov 1.


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