Friday 25 May 2018

'It's never to late to write' - Award-winning Irish poet who started writing in his 60s

“I’m a good example of someone starting late,” says 68-year-old award-winning poet Ron Carey.

Two years ago, aged 66, Ron published his first set of poems. The collection was then shortlisted for the prestigious Forward Best First Collection, UK and Ireland.

What's extraordinary is that Ron, a retired company director from Limerick, only began writing poetry on a serious level in his early sixties. He received an MA in creative writing only two years ago.

“Poetry was very strong for me when I was younger, although I never took it too seriously. I got published in the Irish Press in my 20s, but never took it seriously until I retired.”

“In school I was always reading ahead before I’d actually get back to school. I’d have my English book read and all my poems off before school started. I wasn’t doing it except for the fact that I love it,” he told independent.ie.

“My mum was always reciting stuff. We were from Limerick originally so there was a lot of folklore-y kind of poetry rather than poetry of a highly cultured nature. That resonated with me, because I like a story in poems.”

Ron, who has four children and seven grandchildren, is a late developer as a poet.

After a career that started on Shannon Industrial Estate, and ended as a director of an engineering sales company in Dublin, Ron took up writing again.

Now he says, he's living proof that it's never too late to start writing.

“About eight years ago, with the encouragement of my wife Cathy and my brother, Greg, I began to take writing seriously again. My poems began to appear in journals and magazines.”

“I began to get some recognition with awards and prizes. Six years ago, I received a Diploma in Creative Writing from the Open University.”

“Then I applied and was accepted by the University of South Wales for a Masters in Creative Writing, which I was awarded in 2015.”

“I did a course in the Open University, a diploma course, and got more interested in the poetry. I wanted to go on and do something else and Nessa O’Mahony, my tutor, suggested I send some poems on to Philip Gross at the University of South Wales.”

“I got accepted there, and Sinead Morrissey was one of the outside examiners and she said I had enough there for a good collection, that she was very impressed. She said I should get it published, and Revival Press in Limerick published that first collection “Distance”.”

Ron is now working on his second collection, and teaches creative writing classes in poetry to the over 55s.

“When I’m with the classes or groups that I’m trying to encourage at the moment, it’s amazing how they come on once they know it’s possible.”

“It’s really amazing to see the change in people over four or five weeks. At the start they don’t want to read their stuff, whereas at the end they’re trying to get your attention so they can read it out loud.”

Ron will teach creative writing for older people at the Irish Writers Centre from October 17.

Ron was involved in the 2017 Bealtaine Festival, an annual festival celebrating the arts and creativity as we age which takes place in May. Bealtaine is one of the world’s first arts and creativity festivals for older people.

For more information, see www.ageandopportunity.ie and www.bealtaine.ie

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