Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bagel Bard Lawrence Kessenich wins Strokestown International Poetry Award---Ireland

Festival 2010

I got this letter from Bagel Bard Lawrence Kessenich:


Sorry you weren't at Bagel Bards today. You missed an array of free pastries, which I bought to celebrate (drum roll, please) my winning FIRST PRIZE at the Strokestown International Poetry Festival in Ireland! Yes, out of 2,400 entries, my poem "Angelus" rose to the top, and I was awarded 4,000 euros! Certainly the biggest honor--and payday--I've ever had as a writer.

I was also given a wonderful symbolic gift: an "ashplant," as they call it, a branch from one of the ash trees that grow profusely in Roscommon County, where the festival took place. In a way, that means more to me than the money (as one Irishman put it, "Money comes and goes, but you'll always have your ashplant"), because it's literally a piece of Ireland. (Of course I took the money, too--I'm not an idiot.)

The director of the festival also asked me to help publicize the festival and prizes (2nd place: 2,000 euros; 3rd place: 1,000 euros), because they'd love to get more U.S. entries. I'll put a link to the festival site below, so poets who want to enter can keep an eye out for when they start taking 2011 submissions. It's a very well-run festival in a beautiful location in west-central Ireland, and the Irish are gracious hosts. I highly recommend it (even if I hadn't won, I'd have had a wonderful time).

The Strokestown International Poetry Festival 2010
took place 30 April ~ 2 May, Bank Holiday Weekend

The Strokestown International Poetry Prize 2010

First: LAWRENCE KESSENICH, Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Angelus

Second: Julian Stannard, Hampshire, England: Soup
Third: Pam Zinneman-Hope, Dorset, England: Cave
The other poets shortlisted were, in alphabetical order:
Gavin Bantock, Japan: White Russian; Heather Brett, Ireland: Bankrupt; Paul F. Cummins, California: The Simple Science of Wealth; Charles Evans, London: Emissary; ; Helena Nolan, Dublin: The Impossible Black Tulip of Cartography; Robert Stein, London: Beethoven in Camden Town, February 1911.

The Strokestown International Poetry Festival 2010
took place 30 April ~ 2 May, Bank Holiday Weekend