Eyewear Publishing held an event night for their major anthology The Poet’s Quest For God at the historic Ballymascanlon Hotel in Dundalk. The well attended event, hosted by Eyewear Director Dr Todd Swift, was the Irish launch for the anthology, which brings together 350 poems by contemporary poets from the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, India, Australia and beyond, writing on the subject of faith and wonder (or indeed, lack of it).
Co-editor Father Oliver Brennan spoke at the reading, detailing how his own love for poetry was awakened after being encouraged to read Gerard Manley Hopkins’ sonnet As Kingfishers Catch Fire. A popular figure in Dundalk, having married hundreds of couples over the years, Fr Brennan highlighted how the collection had developed over the years after many meetings, and many “tea and sandwiches”. The anthology sees contributions from major names such as Rowan Williams, Andrew Motion, Patience Agbabi, Luke Kennard, Tony Curtis, John F. Deane, John Glenday, Michael Symmons Roberts, Bethany Pope and Vona Groarke. Other Irish poets of note include Michael S. Bengal, Kimberly Campanello, Rachel Coventry, Kevin Higgins, Victoria Kennefick, Susan Millar DuMars and Nessa O’Mahony,
The event saw readings from Michael Farry, Barbara Smith and Lagan’s own Colin Dardis, as well as from popular local Dundalk poet John Noonan. An opportune moment arose when Fr Tom Hamill purchased a copy of the anthology, only to realise that one of his own poems was included in it. Unaware beforehand that Dr Swift and Father Brennan had accepted his work, he was quickly invited to share his poem to the appreciative audience.
The hardback edition, strictly limited to 1000 copies, is almost completely sold, with a paperback edition planned next year.