A VISION of Cork under water due to the impact of climate change has earned north Cork poet Jerm Curtin the prestigious Patrick Kavanagh Award for 2021, it has been announced.
A native of Boherbue, Jerm is now based in Spain where he teaches English as a foreign language.
The competition named in honour of Monaghan born Kavanagh, who featured in the Leaving Cert studies of many, was called at short notice this year after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
The judge, the poet and novelist Brian Lynch, said, ‘Although this year’s competition had to be held at short notice, the response was unexpectedly large. I think Covid and the isolation associated with it led to a great deal of soul-searching and a pent-up demand for communication, which the Kavanagh Award released.’
He described Jerm Curtin’s collection, ‘The Drowned City’, as a vision of Cork permanently under water due to climate change – cars in the streets are replaced with kayaks – accompanied by a tender study of Noreen Daly, a recognisable but fictitious aging woman from Kanturk living alone in the city.
Another local poet, Ashley O’Neal, an American writer based in the Múscraí Gaeltacht, was among the poets highly commended for her work. Ms. O’Neal’s first collection, A Wren Is Near, was published by her own company in 2019.