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Unroar – Poetry in a time of ecological crisis

Red Line Book Festival has appointed the award winning poet and biologist Jane Robinson as this year’s Writer in Residence.

As part of her residency, Robinson will lead an eight week course – free and open to the public to apply – titled Unroar – Outdoor Poetry in a Time of Ecological Crisis.

Based in Dublin, poet and biologist Jane Robinson spoke of her residency saying:

‘Questions of environmental breakdown and how to approach them through poetry have long been integral to my writing practice’.

She went on to say: During this eight-week course, participants will learn more about poetry, biology, local nature and eco-poetry; combined with practical methods for approaching the page when brought down by despair and anger over climate change and biodiversity loss.

We’ll generate new writing in outdoor locations at public parks in the county and hone our poems indoors while discussing selected contemporary and local poets.

Interested participants may apply for this workshop series by Monday 16 August.

Course Outline:   Beginning at the North Clondalkin Library (NCL) and Sensory Garden participants will spend two Monday evenings transitioning from the library into the sensory garden and surrounding outdoors to explore local trees and garden biodiversity (plants, insect pollinators, birds) and find inspiration for writing new poems. As the days shorten, subsequent outdoor workshops will be held on Sunday afternoons at public parks in South Dublin County (a Lucan park, Sean Walsh Memorial Park, Tymon Park) with linked indoor workshops on Monday evenings at nearby libraries (Lucan, Tallaght and Castletymon). These venues are all accessible by public transport.

Each outdoor workshop will have a theme appropriate for the location as we explore practical and creative approaches to writing in and of the ecosystem; and examine how humans have altered these ecosystems.

The indoor poetry workshops will continue with constructive feedback on new work, readings and discussions.

Throughout the course, participants will be invited to write and edit new poems; discuss contemporary poetry, poets, and their practices; and examine field biology, biodiversity, and environmental issues such as extinction and climate change.  Reading suggestions in poetry and natural history will be supplied throughout the course.

How to Apply:

Please send a letter (one page maximum) by email to wir@redlinebookfest.ie to include the following by latest midnight Monday 16 August:

  • reason for interest in taking the course;
  • confirm availability for above outlined dates;
  • details of previous writing experience and publication record if any;
  • information about yourself;
  • a two page sample of poetry or short prose may be included but is not essential.

Workshops are fully inclusive and open to all levels, from absolute beginners to experienced writers, in a safe and encouraging environment. Each participant will receive feedback as the course unfolds, and the opportunity for a one-to-one discussion with the tutor.

The number of participants is to be limited to allow for social distancing and individual tuition. All events will be run as per COVID-19 event guidelines and government directives in place. Note – outdoor workshops are to go ahead even in the pouring rain, so be prepared for variations in weather!

Dates and times: Mondays (18.00 – 20.00): 30th Aug and 6th Sept (NCL); 20th Sept (Lucan Library); 4th Oct (Tallaght Library); 18th Oct (Castletymon Library)

Sundays (14.30 – 16.30): 12th Sept (Lucan); 26th Sept (Sean Walsh Memorial Park); 10th Oct (Tymon Park)

Jane Robinson, poet and biologist, lives in Dublin. She holds a PhD from the California Institute of Technology and her first poetry collection ‘Journey to the Sleeping Whale’ (Salmon, 2018) received the Shine-Strong Award; other recognitions include the Strokestown International Poetry Prize and the Red Line Book Festival Poetry Award. Recent essays are in Skylight 47-14 (2021) and in ‘Irish Women Poets Rediscovered’ (Cork University Press, in press).

The Red Line Book Festival is an initiative of South Dublin County Council.

Held in October each year, the festival celebrates the very best in local, national and international writing.

Taking place in venues across South County Dublin, the Red Line Book Festival provides a programme of events and workshops that appeals to people of all ages and interests, from children to adults, casual readers to bookworms. The 2021 festival runs October 11th – 17th. http://www.redlinebookfestival.ie

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