Poetry Competition

Poetry Competition

On Poetry Day Ireland the National Print Museum announces a new poetry competition in association with Creative Ireland. The competition is open to all and the winners will have their poems printed letterpress.

The Museum is unique – the only one of its kind in Ireland and the UK. The collection is made up largely of letterpress printing equipment. Letterpress is a form of relief printing, which was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439. The invention is one of the greatest known to mankind. It was the chief manner of printing which prevailed for over 500 years before becoming obsolete, in the commercial sense, in the mid-twentieth century. In recent years it has experienced an international revival – from craft to technology and back again. The main collection is not behind glass or rope, but is instead an example of a working collection.

There are two categories (over and under 18). The winner from each category will have their poem hand-set in metal type and printed on the Museum’s Vandercook Proofing Press by graphic artist Mary Plunkett along with a participant from the Skills Transfer Programme. This Skills Transfer Programme was a 2019 programme, sponsored by Creative Ireland, to enable the transfer of skills of letterpress from one generation to the next – keeping the craft alive. In the same year, the craft was also added to the National Inventory of Intangible Heritage. The Museum is dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of the historical significance and the contemporary relevance of printing in Ireland by exploring its heritage, craft and technology.

The renowned Irish poet, Stephen James Smith will judge the competition entries. At the end of the Skills Transfer Programme the Museum was introduced to Smith and was honoured to have been commissioned by Creative Ireland to handset and print a limited edition of his poem “We must create”. Over the years, the Museum has been involved in poetry projects with great writers such as Seamus Heaney and Brendan Kennelly amongst others. At a time like this, the Museum wishes to encourage creativity in the community – and Smith’s words below summarise the sentiments perfectly.

“We must create to know we can be.
I say this for you, I say this for me.
We must create to know who we can be.”

Smith is central to the rise of the vibrant spoken word scene in Ireland today. To date, his poetry videos have amassed to over 3 million views online. As a poet, the process of seeing his words come to print in the traditional way was a process Smith appreciated greatly. Speaking about the experience he says – “Poetry and print are two crafts that are inextricably linked. I felt incredibly honoured to have had one of my poems printed by the National Print Museum, especially because Mary Plunkett was the graphic artist! I’m excited that now someone else gets to have the same experience. The time and thought that goes into the print is not unlike the time and thought needed to write a poem. You need to think carefully about the choice of words and how you want to present it. Poetry has an ethereal quality, so to now make it tangible on the beautiful parchment makes it all the more real and the limited edition makes it even more special. Best of luck to my fellow poets, just remember art is subjective and if you don’t ‘win’ please continue to create for yourself first and foremost.”

Due to time constraints only the first 100 entries of the combined categories will be reviewed, so get writing!

#poetryinprint #createathome #creativeireland

Poetry Competition Terms and Conditions
Competition: The National Print Museum Poetry Competition, in association with Creative Ireland.
Invitees: Entries are invited from all (published and unpublished poets).
Categories: 1) Under 18 and 2) Over 18
Maximum of 1 entry per person.
Deadline: Thursday 21 May at noon. Please note that only the first 100 entries (category 1 and 2 inclusive) will be accepted.
Format: Entries to the competition must be of a maximum of 12 lines and 150 words, and are to be sent in Word document format saved with the poet’s name and marked category 1 or 2 to info@nationalprintmuseum.ie  Postal entries will not be accepted.
Language: The poems should be submitted in English. References to other languages may be made where an index is provided.
Theme: N/A
Judge: The competition will be judged blind by poet Stephen James Smith.
Announcement: The winner will be announced on Saturday 13 June 2020 as part of Cruinniú na nÓg.
Prize: The winning poems will be handset and printed in a limited edition of 20 prints at the National Print Museum of Ireland. Print date to be confirmed when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Copyright: The copyright of the poem remains with the author. The National Print Museum and Creative Ireland will have the right to publish the poems for one year from the closing date.
Fee: There is no fee for entry.
Feedback: No feedback will be provided. The Museum, Creative Ireland and judge will not enter into any correspondence regarding individual entries or the final decision.
Original work only. Entry to the competition implies acceptance of these terms of conditions.