You might be the type of person who threw that poetry anthology to the back of the bookshelf when you conquered English Paper 2 in the Leaving Cert all those moons ago but we’re now asking you to rethink that decision. This year’s One City One Book is a poetry anthology, If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song, and if you needed a reason to properly fall in love with the written word again this is it.
The collection is available in bookshops across the city and is edited by Gerard Smyth and Pat Boran. If Ever You Go features old and new works from luminaries such as Swift, Synge, Yeats, Joyce, Kavanagh and Ó Direáin as well as modern favourites Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Dermot Bolger, Paula Meehan, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Derek Mahon reflecting on our literary and idiosyncratic city and we’re loving it so far.
One City One Book is a month long literary festival of sorts that dominate the Dublin cultural calendar every April. A book is chosen every year that bears some association with the fair city and the citizenry are encouraged to read simultaneously while Dublin City Libraries host events dotted throughout the capital. Last year saw the 1913 Lockout marked with James Plunkett’s doorstopper of a classic Strumpet City, and in previous years we got our The Picture of Dorian Gray on and fell back in love with Joyce’s incredible Dubliners. The concept of One City One Book emerged in Seattle in 1998 and has been flourishing here for nine well-read years. And if you want to keep up the mass reading, join our Northern readers on their literary pursuits. This May Belfast plans to tackle David Park’s latest novel, The Poets’ Wives.
We’ve rounded up some of the best One City One Book events remaining this month:
- The Irish Film Institute on Eustace Street is holding a series of free screenings relating to If Ever You Go. Their Archive at Lunchtime consists of free screenings and offer the perfect midday repose. Upcoming productions include Imeall: A Tribute to Seamus Heaney, Alive Alive o: A Requiem for Dublin featuring the poetry of Paula Meehan, See You at the Pillar – A wry literary tour of Dublin, and Meet the Quare Fella, a interview with Brendan Behan directed by Fred O’Donovan. Full details are available at www.ifi.ie
- Unfortunately the Celebrating Seamus Heaney concert in the National Concert Hall is sold out. This Wednesday evening sees Earlsfort Terrace host a star-studded tribute to Seamus Heaney with the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, Paul Brady, Gabriel Byrne, Zoë Conway, Theo Dorgan, Lisa Hannigan, Michael Longley, Donal Lunny, Medbh McGuckian, Neil Martin, Paula Meehan, Paul Muldoon and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáín performing alongside the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.
- Friday night in Club na Múinteoirí/The Teachers’ Club looks set to be a good one. An Góilín Traditional Singers’ Club will be regaling the crowd with songs and poems from the book and other Dublin songs.
- For something a little bit different you can take a Dublin City Bike Tour this Friday AM. Ambling through the streets of Dublin that have inspired all these poems and songs sound like the perfect codicil for a working week.
- And finishing off the festival in a modern fashion on the evening of Wednesday 30th April in The Stag’s Head, spoken word poets and comedians The Brownbread Mixtape will be taking to the stage.
For a more comprehensive list of events on offer see the One City One Book website.
Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun