Anthology launched at special Muckross event

Tadhg Evans

Showcasing the talents of 16 Kerry poets, some of whom have never had their work published before, 'Still in the Dreaming' is as impressive an anthology of modern poetry in the county as one could ask for.

And the publication had the kind of launch it deserved last week at Muckross House, a night that featured such festivities as a drinks reception, musical entertainment, and readings by the poets themselves.

As the book was launched by Killarney MD Leas Cathaoirleach Councillor John Joe Culloty, it brought to an end a process which began last summer with callouts through various forms of media.

Following that, 16 poets were selected: Faye Boland, Lorraine Carey, Conor Cleary, Barbara Derbyshire, Kevin Griffin, Philomena Hearne (née Stack), Michael Joyce, Victoria Kennefick, Noel King, Mary Lavery Carrig, John McGrath, Paul Murphy, Elizabeth Murtough, Marian Relihan, Bernadette Ní Riada, and Lola Scollard.

They then worked with Kerry's Writer in Residence, Annemarie Ní Churreáin, setting in motion an editing and production process which included workshops in Kerry County Council and finally culminated in last week's launch. And, as Annemarie explains, the anthology also serves as a reminder of one of the county's most famous literary talents.

"I chose 'Still in the Dreaming' for the title of the book as a tribute to the late John Moriarty," Ms Ní Churreáin said.

"John was a poet who was deeply inspired by nature, and he described Kerry's landscape as one that was still in the dreaming."

The book will be available for loan through Kerry Libraries and, for a limited time, for purchase at the Kerry County Council (KCC) Arts Office. KCC Arts Officer Kate Kennelly was among those to extol the virtues of the new anthology, and she encourage people to take a look for themselves and thanked the many bodies which supported the project.

"These new poems all capture in their own way the deep connections of nature and nurture that Kerry people feel for the world and people around them," Ms Kennelly explained last week.

"Each poem is a worthy addition to the treasure that is Kerry literature, and the book is something to be proud of.

"The residency was supported by Kerry County Council, The Arts Council, The Trustees of Muckross House and Gardens, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Creative Ireland Kerry, and along with Kerry County Museum's hosting of the workshops and Kerry Library hosting workshops also, reflects the strong support there is for writing in the county."

The writer in residence programme recommences next March. Further details on this initiative will be provided on social media @KerryCoArts on Twitter and Facebook; and through the Arts Office's e-newsletter.