The Great Paul Durcan Poetry Reading Tour of Ireland

Paul Durcan (Photo via The Guardian)

I’d love to see more of this in literature: a poetry reading tour. Paul Durcan, described as “Ireland’s most playful poet” in an Irish Times interview last week, has embarked on an almost nationwide tour to promote his latest collection, The Days of Surprise. The first “gig” came as part of the Mountains to Sea book festival in Dun Laoghaire last week, and Durcan will also be reading at Cúirt Festival in Galway and the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork in April. May brings him to the Source Theatre in Thurles (where he is in conversation with former Tipperary hurling manager and endlessly interesting college professor Eamon O’Shea), the Gate Theatre in Dublin and Listowel Writers’ Week. In June, Durcan takes in Westport, Co Mayo and the Hay Festival in Kells, followed by a return to his familiar Achill Island in July. (One of the poems in the latest collection is, rather alluringly, titled “The Last Great Achill Island Volkswagen Beetle Protestant”.) The Clifden Arts Festival (September), the Image Arts Festival (October) and a pre-Christmas date in Castlebar are also on Durcan’s radar before the end of the year. Update: Thanks to all those in the Northern arts scene for letting me know on Twitter – Paul Durcan will also be appearing at the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival on Sunday, May 3rd. Of course, book tours are fairly commonplace, but for a new work of Irish poetry I think this is excellently ambitious. No doubt, given the festivals involved and Durcan’s enduring appeal, there will be close-to-sellout audiences everywhere he goes. Kudos to publishers HarvillSecker and all the festivals for giving this a go. (If you’re reading, Paul, please, please, please feel free to drop in to our soon-to-be-new bookshop, Blackbird Books in Navan, during your trip to the Royal County in June…)

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