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Westival calls all poets

Going Out

Ciara Moynihan

With festivals and other social events being cancelled all around us, Westival has emerged like a shining beacon, giving us something to look forward to this October.
Westport’s much-loved music and arts festival will take place from October 21 to 26, and with a strong emphasis on homegrown talent and closer-to-home culture, it will be appropriately themed the ‘Home Fires Burning Edition’.
One of the festival’s longest-running and most respected institutions is its international poetry contest, and the Westival Poetry Competition 2020 has just opened for entries.
Announcing the open call, a Westival statement said: “For most of us, 2020 will have been one of the most extraordinary years of our lives. While we have been isolated in our homes many of our thoughts have turned into creations to develop a new sense of the world around us. Writers and poets, in particular, may not be on the front lines of the pandemic but are the creative force who mine the human spirit and give us all a deeper understanding of the times we now live in.
“We hope that you will share your newly penned creations with us for this year’s annual poetry competition, whatever your rhyme or reasons.”

Audio aspect
For the first time, the festival is allowing each writer to fully format their text submission. And in an exciting departure, this year poets are also being given the option to attach an sound file of them, or someone they nominate, reciting their piece.
“Our aim to create a poetry walking trail at site-specific locations around Westport, so that the general public can hear your piece in a safe and immersive way,” the organisers explain. “All poets will be contacted in advance for their approval to be included in the trail and paid a fee for their involvement.”
The judging of the overall competition will be made ‘first and foremost’ on the written piece, and not on the performance of the audio content, as the recordings are optional.
This year’s first prize is €750, and the deadline for submissions is September 13.

For more details and rules for entry, see the Westival website,