Belfast Telegraph

Festival brings words of wisdom to streets with Poetry Jukebox

By Staff Reporter

Poetry is being brought to the streets of Northern Ireland next month through a new project.

The Poetry Jukebox will open at the Crescent Arts Centre on October 12 as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival.

It will be a permanent and accessible asset to those who want to hear new Irish poetry in a unique way.

A funnel speaker will play host to 20 original poems from a variety of writers living in Ireland, where at the push of a button the listener will be swept away by recordings of local artists.

Poet and writer Deirdre Cartmill is excited to be bringing the project to Belfast.

"Poetry Jukebox creatively puts literature in public space," she said.

Working with Deirdre, fellow poet and writer Maria McManus explained the passion and reason behind the project.

"The things that are most loudly spoken are often messages of hate, racism, bigotry, separation and despondency," she said.

"We want to change this by bringing literature, primarily poetry, to people where they are out on the streets, so we can, as Heaney said, 'catch the heart off guard, and blow it open'."

Belfast International Arts Festival director Richard Wakely, said the Poetry Jukebox will connect with listeners in a gentle but deeply effective way.

Damian Smyth, head of literature at Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: "This is a really innovative international idea and design from the Czech Republic which equally innovative and international literary artists in Northern Ireland have managed to woo to Belfast."

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