Celebrations as John launches new poetry collection
It was a proud day for John Yates as family, friends and colleagues gathered at The Presentation Centre to witness the launch of his first full collection of poetry, titled 'As Ever'.
An Enniscorthy native and brother of former TD and broadcaster Ivan Yates, John has been a participant in Wexford County Council's Arts Ability Creative Writing Programme since its inception back in 2006. The programme, run through the Killagoley Training and Activation Centre (KTAC) and facilitated by writer Sylvia Cullen, provides a wonderful creative outlet to a total of four groups and has published a total of three different books previously - 'From the Hill of Wild Berries', 'Climbing Mountains in Our Minds' and last year's 'Darker Later'.
'As Ever' is a collection of 28 poems which are insightful, understated and full of gentle humour and brings the reader on a journey from the West of Ireland to the streets of Enniscorthy.
Getting the official launch underway, Sylvia Cullen spoke of the courage required for writers to find an audience and ensure their voice is heard.
'Enabling John to take that step when he was ready, has been possible precisely because the Arts Ability programme is a long-term one, allowing for time to build relationships and encourage the participants to 'dream bigger',' she said.
Performing the launch, librarian Jarlath Glynn compared John's work to American poet Franz Wright. 'John has that rare ability in poetry to make his own experiences, laid out without apology, into something that is instructive and vital' he said. 'These are poems of hope and recovery. He urges us who have fallen behind, and who amongst us has not done so, to inch forward and regain the acre field.'
Wexford County Council funded the publication of the book, which is available through the county library network, and reflecting on the programme, Arts Officer Liz Byrne commented on its long-term commitment to fostering creativity and congratulated on John a wonderful piece of work. There were several readings from the book before John thanked Sylvia and all who had helped him throughout his writing life and signed copies for enthusiastic well-wishers.