Newry man scoops top spot at prestigious poetry competition

Newry Times News Posted by
info@newrytimes.com
Friday, August 9th, 2013
Community

The eagerly anticipated results of the 2013 iYeats Poetry Competition were announced this week as part of an evening of poetry and music at Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo, with Newry man James Conor Patterson emerging victorious in the under 25 category.

Those gathered had cause to celebrate as the event also marked the 5th year of the competition.

Guests were treated to readings from Ireland’s most renowned poets plus music before 2013 judges Katie Donovan & James Harper announced the winners.

The First Prize of €500 was awarded to Breda Wall Ryan from Bray, Co Dublin for ‘Dreamless’.

Breda poems are, she says “inspired by the intersection of the surreal and the ordinary, and by the patterns underpinning all aspects of the universe”. Her winning work charts the day of a female heroin addict.

The emerging poet prize of €300 for poets under 25 years old was awarded to James Conor Patterson from Newry, Co Down for his poem ‘Animal Psalms’.

The prolific 24 year old poet and short-story writer has seen his work published in a number of publications including ‘30 Irish Writers Under 30’ by Doire Press.

He has read his work at a number of different events including, most recently, The Belfast Book Festival and 10 Days in Dublin. James recited his poem via video from France.

Newry man James Conor Patterson

The iYeats competition was launched in 2009 by the Hawk’s Well Theatre to mark the 51st Yeats International Summer School. The competition has grown rapidly and the calibre of both competition entrants and judges has garnered this competition worldwide recognition.

In 2013, the fifth year of the competition, the Hawk’s Well Theatre received entries from across the globe. 2013 Judge James Harpur said, “It was a privilege to join the line of distinguished judges who have previously passed sentence on entrants of the competition.

“The latter – as you might expect with anything associated with the name of Yeats – has a high pedigree, reflected in the quality of the submitted poems.”

The top four winning poems are now on display at the Hawk’s Well Theatre & online at www.hawkswell.com

1st PRIZE – EMERGING

Animal Psalms, by James Conor Patterson

I
When the city finally stopped and the road, pockmarked with rain and paper, summoned up
grass like a demon
and all the cars along the M4 west to Lucan and Cabra were spent as corks,
Things became as they were.

II
Chrysanthemums in the windows. Cats along beds of scratched oak tables. On the mounted
colonnades and white stone
face of the general post office, a thick slime of lichen smeared its
way, decadent as cancer, through a cracked pane of glass.

III
Everything was as it should. And how like the flies and rooks on College Green, the flood
water took Saint Stephen’s.
A jungle of chairs and wheels sending yellow flakes into the sky
and a great parade of wings to match the butterfly.

IV
At the Mater Private too, just northeast of Eccles and then again northeast of the Basin
where, five-fingered, the blind
glove lies across a fine dust of mildew and latex; the soiled
shelves obscene with mucous traps. The floor with syringes and cotton balls.

V
And how, like everything, the great oaks and fruits and foxgloves and ragweed of two day’s
rain emerged from slabs
on South Parnell; a snake found amidst the foliage and rubble, subtle
as a high-thrown watermark, and beckoning from up the tree-trunk like a wisp.

© James Conor Patterson


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