Ó Bhéal’s 7th Winter Warmer Poetry Festival, Cork – 22nd / 24th November 2019

Contemplating the Muse

No 21 – Linda Ibbotson

A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.”
― W.H. Auden, The Complete Works of W.H. Auden: Prose, Volume II: 1939-1948


It is the love of language as mentioned by W H Auden in the quote; whether it is exploration of the written word, the verbal, lyricism, voices captured on video/ film, challenges of poetry translation or language understood by the hard of hearing through sign that is  incredibly absorbing and unifying.

Here, in Cork city there is evidence of the passionate love of language, along with inspiration, diversity and affinity sweetening the November air as eminent writers and friends gathered from across the globe to meet at the wonderful Ó Bhéal 7th Winter Warmer Poetry Festival, Kino, Cork.


I am delighted to present a selection of photos to document the inspirational events, and on a personal level it was wonderful to feel immersed and creatively nourished in both the love of language and in the visual through the camera lense. For further information on the poets, readings and events at the Winter Warmer  – https://www.obheal.ie/blog/winter-warmer-poetry-festival/winter-warmer-festival-2019/

Much appreciation to Paul Casey, Founder and Director of Ó Bhéal and his hardworking team!


It was an extensive, diverse and thoroughly engaging programme of poetry readings, performance, workshops, interviews, multilingual poets and translations in addition to  poetry/ film from the Ó Bhéal International Poetry – Film Competition.   


Delighted to see my photograph in a Winter Warmer Festival review article by Cornelia Gräbner, Lancaster University.



An upbeat, captivating performance by Dubliner Ciara Ní É, the founder of REIC, a monthly multilingual spoken word and open mic night that features poetry, music, storytelling and rap. She has performed in New York, London, Sweden, and across Ireland.

Philip Wilson teaches philosophy at the University of East Anglia – The Bright Rose (Arc 2015) is an edition of texts and translations of German poetry from 800 to 1280.


Dourga is a trio of musicians, singers, poets and healers. Their music is rooted in an awareness of the healing power of Sacred Sound and the exciting energy of fusion of musical genres, creating a vibrant musical and emotional journey for the audience.




One of the most captivating and emotive readings. Liz Berry was born in the Black Country and now lives in Birmingham. Her first book of poems, Black Country (Chatto 2014), described as a ‘sooty, soaring hymn to her native West Midlands’ (Guardian.) Her pamphlet The Republic of Motherhood (Chatto, 2018) was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet choice and the title poem won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2018.







Louis Mulcahy was born in Wexford in 1941. He is a well-known potter who writes poetry. He has four full collections, one in Irish. The first three were published by An Sagart Publishing. His latest, A Potter’s Book, appeared this year from Doire Press. His work has been in Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, The Shop, Stony Thursday, Southword etc., and read on RTE1, Lyric Radio and Radio na Gaeltachta.





KINO, CORK CITY – What a fantastic relaxing venue for a poetry festival!



Danielle McLaughlin’s stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as The Stinging Fly, Southword, The Irish Times, The Sunday Times and The New Yorker, and have been broadcast on RTE Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4.




Richard Hawtree’s poems have appeared in literary magazines including: the Stinging Fly, Banshee, The Blue Nib, The Honest Ulsterman, SOUTH, and Skylight 47. He lives in Surrey, where his academic interests encompass medieval literature and creative writing. He is a visiting lecturer at the University of Brighton and he has taught Old English language and literature at the University of Leicester.


Aifric Mac Aodha was born in 1979. Her first collection, Gabháil Syrinx was published by An Sagart in 2010. She is a former editor of Comhar, and the current Irish-language poetry editor of The Stinging Fly, gorse and Poetry Ireland’s Trumpet. The Arts Council of Ireland awarded her several bursaries and in 2016, she received the Oireachtas prize for poetry.


One of the highlights of the Festival, Poetry Film! – Marie Craven, here in discussion with Claudia Larose-Bell, Colm Scully and Paul Casey, has been a maker of short films for 35 years. These have exhibited extensively at international festivals and events, and gathered many awards.These include Best Film at the 2016 Ó Bhéal Poetry Film Competition, where her work has been among the finalists every year.

The Love of the Sun, an audiovisual poetry performance is inspired by the latest collection from Australian writer Matt Hetherington, titled The Love of the Sun (Recent Work Press, 2018). Directed by Marie Craven, it features Australian actor, Claudia Larose-Bell, former lead player with the Adelaide State Theatre Company. Writer Matt Hetherington has published over 300 poems and five books during the past 20 years, in Australia, Europe and USA. Music is composed by musician and DJ Steve Kelly, in the UK.


Saturday afternoon included a closed mic for 10 local poets that attend Ó Bhéal Monday poetry evenings regularly!



Amanda Bell is a writer, editor and reviewer, with an MA in Poetry Studies. Her publications include First the Feathers (Doire Press, 2017), which was shortlisted for the Strong Shine Award; Undercurrents (Alba, 2016), which won a HSA Kanterman Merit Book Award and was shortlisted for a Touchstone Distinguished Books Award; an illustrated children’s book, The Lost Library Book (Onslaught, 2017); and the loneliness of the sasquatch, from the Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock (Alba, 2018).

Gabriel Rosenstock was born c. 1949, Kilfinane, Co. Limerick, in postcolonial Ireland. He is a poet, tankaist, haikuist, novelist, essayist, playwright, author/translator of over 180 books, mostly in Irish, or bilingual editions. He is a member of Aosdána (Irish academy of arts & letters), a Lineage Holder of Celtic Buddhism, a Former Chairman of Poetry Ireland/Éigse Éireann and a prolific translator into Irish of international poetry


From a theatrical family, Afric McGlinchey is a multi-award-winning poet based in West Cork. A recipient of bursary awards from the Arts Council of Ireland and from Cork County Council — Raised in various countries in Africa, her debut collection, The lucky star of hidden things (Salmon Poetry, 2012) was translated into Italian (L’Arcolaio) and studied in a Poetics of Dislocation Series at Bologna University. Poems have been also translated into Spanish, Polish, Romanian and Irish. Her second collection, Ghost of the Fisher Cat (Salmon, 2016) was nominated for the Forward Prize and the Piggott Prize. Here, with Michael Ray.



Rosalin Blue, poet and one of the hardworking team, here, in charge of the bookstall


A captive audience!



Poetic voices explored the Gaelic literary landscape, including –

Anne C Frater was brought up in the village of Upper Bayble in the Isle of Lewis, in a home and a community where Gaelic was the main language. Scottish Gaelic is her first language, and the language in which her poetry is written.






Travelling south took us to the warmer climes of Galacia with Yolanda CastañoYolanda was born in Santiago de Compostela. She has been a columnist, has worked in Galician TV for many years and is an editor and very active culture manager with her own Residency for Writers in Galicia and has poems translated into more than 35 languages, but also poetry volumes in Italian, French, Macedonian and Armenian, as her new books into English and Serbian are about to be launched.  


The love of language has no age barrier



United by poetry it was heartwarming to witness the inclusion of the deaf community with sign language from Ray Greene at the finale on Sunday at the Long Valley “Many Tongues of Cork” organised and presented by Joanna Dukkipati. Six women read their poems in the original language (with translations projected overhead), including Tamil, Italian, French, Marathi, Polish and German. A wonderful musical interlude by the Underscore Orkestra, formed in Portland, Oregon and now based in Cork Ireland.

Readers for this all-Women presentation include: Dr Lekha Menon Margaseery (Tamil), Michaela Lagoria (Italian), Nelly Azzapordi (French), Rosalin Blue (German), Mummy Harmony (Polish) and Pratibha Patil (Marathi).


Cork poet and artist Margaret Creedon sketching the poets! It is no doubt that words are very much alive, piquant, immensely powerful, even visionary and play a significant and enriching role in our lives.



Myself, captured in front of the lense!

 Interestingly, I discovered W H Auden’s house in Brooklyn on a recent visit to New York in October but therein lies another blog adventure…..  


Photographs copyright © Ó Bhéal and taken by Linda Ibbotson

All information from the Ó Bhéal website with kind permission – http://www.obheal.ie/blog/

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5 Responses to Ó Bhéal’s 7th Winter Warmer Poetry Festival, Cork – 22nd / 24th November 2019

  1. daulkanys says:

    Wonderful writing about the poetry festival Linda! So many talented people. Would have so loved to be there.

  2. How fascinating, Linda. Looks enthralling. So happy to hear from you. Diane

  3. Pingback: Welcome to Ó Bhéal - Fáilte go dtí Ó Bhéal

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