Fresh from an Arts Council Bursary tour of New England, the Wexford-based actor and poet Joe Neal is looking forward to the launch of his sixth collection of poetry, Rossetti's Wombat, at 7pm in Wexford Library on Thursday, October 11.
Joe, a former candidate in the European elections, won the 2017 Anthony Cronin International Poetry Award and and is the author of earlier collections which include Telling It at a Slant, Turn Now the Tide, Hear the Colour, Still Rise the Sun and The Next Blue Note.
During the past year, he has given readings and workshops at festivals and theatre and arts centres in England, Ireland and Wales. Last August he took part in the AberJazz Festival in Wales, reading his poems to the accompaniment of a piano.
He trained as an actor in repertory theatre before attending the University of Nottingham. Apart from poetry, he has been involved in acting and journalism, working in London for the Times, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express. As an actor he appeared in London's West End and in Dublin's Abbey and Gate theatres.
He has performed readings of poems by John Betjeman and Seamus Heaney on BBC television and narrations to the music of Bohuslav Martinu on BBC Radio Three. Rossetti's Wombat takes its title from one of his poems prompted by the unusual behaviour of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.