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Trócaire and Poetry Ireland competition winners 2017

Poets from around the island of Ireland gathered in the National Library of Ireland on Wednesday 24th May 2017, to receive their prizes in this year’s Trócaire and Poetry Ireland poetry competition.

Sinéad O'Reilly, senior primary runner-up reading her poem ‘Foreboding’

Sinéad O’Reilly, senior primary runner-up reading her poem ‘Foreboding’.

This year’s theme ‘Before the Storm’ explored how people prepare for disasters like flooding due to climate change, and the helplessness that others feel when they know that a storm is coming.

The competition was linked to Trócaire’s work in Honduras, where we help vulnerable communities to plan for the next extreme weather event and minimise damage.

Between 1993 and 2014, at least 65 extreme weather events affected Honduras, including six of the 12 strongest hurricanes of the 20th century.

The overall winner was published poet David Butler, with his poem ‘Before the Storm’:

There is a moment, before the storm,
when the winds hold their breath;
the boughs stop moving; the cloud,
backlit, is photograph-still;
the lake’s meniscus reverent.
A moment in suspense.
An instant, when future imperfect
appears to hang in the balance;
when the dice have yet to fall,
the first fat drops to explode
in the dust-tormented earth.

David Butler

David Butler at the Trócaire and Poetry Ireland competition awards ceremony at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin in May 2017.

At the awards ceremony, we welcomed back some winners from last year, including Angela Carr who was joint runner-up in the Published Poets category, and Michael Ray who was joint runner-up in the Unpublished Poets category.

Lorraine Carey was joint runner-up with Angela Carr, with her poem ‘Signs’.

Lorraine’s first poetry collection is being launched at Listowel Writers’ Week in 2017.

Her daughter Elise had been a runner up in the Junior Primary category in 2016 and 2015, so this time it was Elise’s turn to congratulate her mum.

Lorraine Carey and Elise Carey-McGibney

Lorraine Carey and her daughter Elise Carey-McGibney at awards ceremony event. May 2017.

There were many strong entries in the Primary and Post-Primary categories too, from schools all around the country, and the judges – award-winning poet Jane Clarke, CDETB’s Curriculum Development advisor Aidan Clifford and Trócaire’s Trish Groves – had a difficult time selecting the winning poems.

Trócaire would like to thank everyone who entered, and to offer our congratulations to this year’s winners.

Read all the winning and runner-up poems in this year’s competition booklet.

Before the Storm poetry booklet

Learn more about the competition.

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