learn about the festival



James Harpur

Victoria Kennefick

Sarah Holland-Batt

André Naffis-Sahely

Tom Sleigh


Cork City Library

Cork Arts Theatre

Farmgate Café

Munster Literature Centre



Farmgate Poetry Award

Fool for Poetry Prize

Gregory O'Donoghue Prize

Director's Welcome

The Cork International Poetry Festival is Ireland’s largest, dedicated poetry festival. In all the festivals, in all the countries of this Celtic Archipelago we invite more poets from abroad than any other, while ensuring our own poets, living in Ireland are also well represented. We have poets writing in six different languages, born in four different continents providing diverse voices to appeal to diverse tastes. Poetry is as various as music, anyone who might not be a Country and Western fan might enjoy Jazz or Trad, anyone whose taste is not covered by those genres can be attracted to Classical or Rock or Hip-Hop. You might know what your musical tastes are but do you know what your poetry tastes could be? This festival is your opportunity to find out. Here you’ll discover poetry written across generations, languages, countries, classes, faiths, poetry of different aesthetic tastes, poetry treating wildly different subject matter. There is something for everyone.
The Cork poet Victoria Kennefick and American Heather Treseler will perform together poems which explore birth and rebirth, real and metaphorical. Poets David McLoghlin and Majella Kelly will read from their recent collections which explore the culpability of Irish institutions. The multi gendered Queer experience, Irish and American, is explored through the work of many poets participating throughout the programme, including debut collections by Irish poets Mícheál McCann and Mark Ward. Politics touches on all writing, resistance against racist and gendered oppression is featured in the work of Fatimah Asghar and Sally Wen Mao among others on the programme. Questions of violent conflict and Nationalism are at the core of the work of Tom Sleigh and André Naffis-Sahely. John F. Deane and Aidan Mathews will share their work on Christian belief and doubt. Nature lovers are not ignored either. The density of fauna and flora in the natural world and the material they supply for reflections on human existence is highlighted in the work of the Estonian poet Triin Paja; and the transection point of the struggle of being a woman with domestic interspecies suffering is explored in the work of Breda Spaight. The American poet Donika Kelly has written poems featuring beasts which astonish and perplex. Close human relations are explored through the verbally intricate work of Australian poet Sarah Holland-Batt and major British poet David Harsent. For those who like their poets to be famous we have Paul Muldoon and British Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and that’s only the half of it. I haven’t touched on the humour and laughter you should encounter. Explore this readable catalogue, not just of times and venues but information on books, poets’ portraits and much else.
Last year we saw a turning of the corner on Covid’s detrimental effect on audiences, figures were up and the number of audience members who had travelled the length of the country and from further afield was again remarkable. We are dedicated to making poetry accessible to the economically underprivileged by providing many events which are free and charging no more than €5 for most tickets, all while ensuring our performing poets are remunerated and made comfortable. State funding for the arts is crucial to enabling us to fulfil this aim. Strong, dedicated support from the Arts Council of Ireland and Cork City Arts Office do the heavy lifting, supplemented by small business sponsorship, the European Union and various foreign governmental support.
I encourage you to book events early to avoid disappointment and where you can afford it, to buy the poets’ books and/or pressure your local library to supply them for you.

— Patrick Cotter, poet, festival director



+353 (0)21 4322396


The Munster Literature Centre
Frank O'Connor House
84 Douglas Street