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It is the first of February, the beginning of spring, Imbolc. It is also known as the festival of Brigid, goddess of poetry and healing, and so to celebrate the day we want to share some of the most exciting women writers in Ireland today. There is a tradition of women tending flames in honour of Brigid; the women listed below are tending the flames of poetry in Ireland. Here they are: Five Women Poets for Imbolc.
First up is Felicia Olusanya, also known as Felispeaks. Olusanya is a Nigerian-Irish poet, performer and playwright from Co.Longford. She has performed her work on many high-profile stages including Cúirt International Festival of Literature, Electric Picnic, First Fortnight and many more. She has also opened for Kate Tempest and Saul Williams. Below, Felispeaks recites her poem ‘What Heaney Said’.
Annemarie Ní Churreáin
Ní Churreáin is from Donegal and her work has been published widely. Her debut collection, Bloodroot (Doire Press), was shortlisted for the Shine Strong award in 2018. Below she reads her poem ‘Sisters’.
Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh
Born in Kerry, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh has three collections of poetry: Péacadh (Coiscéim, 2008), Tost agus Allagar (Coiscéim, 2016), and Coast Road (a bilingual collection, Gallery Press). Below she reads her poem ‘Cuairteoir’.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nithy Kasa moved to Galway as a teenager in 2005. While she was still in school her poetry brought her to the finals of the Poetry Ireland Poetry Aloud competition, and she was the winner of the 2010 Cúirt International Festival of Literature school poetry prize. Most recently she has been included in Writing Home: The ‘New Irish’ Poets from Dedalus press. Below Kasa reads her poem ‘Charcoal Iron’ in a poetry film from the Adrian Brinkerhoff Poetry Foundation.
Ciara Ní É
Our final poet is Ciara Ní É. She is the founder of REIC, a multilingual spoken word and open mic night. Ní É has performed her poetry extensively, both nationally and internationally. Below is the video for her poem ‘Phenomenal Woman’, a 2018 commission for the LGFA.
Both Nithy Kasa and Felicia Olusanya will feature tonight (February 1st, 2021) in the Poetry Ireland event The Fire Gilders: A Celebration of Women Poets marking Brigid’s Day & Black History Month.