Considering dlr Poetry Now essentially takes place over a long weekend, over time it has developed a unique shape and impact that nourishes the Irish poetry community, at home and abroad, throughout the year.
The festival has ended now. Over for the year. Or rather year-and-a-half, as the next festival won't take place until September 2012, when it will run in tandem with the newer Mountains to The Sea Book festival. This year's audiences were assured that dlr Poetry Now is to retain it's own identity alongside that festival, with its own curator. Whoever that should be, they will have the unenviable role of following Belinda McKeon, whose agile and progressive oversight has, for the last four years, honoured the heritage of the festival and the poetry itself, while fine-tuning to fresh, contemporary frequencies.
I'm still reeling. This year was a classic. The calibre of featured poets, precision of introductions, themes and organisation, and the vitality, generosity, insight and inclusivity of the audiences made for a fitting end to McKeon's tenure.
Whither from here? The move to Autumn is a significant change. There are aspects to the Spring timing of the festival that are hard to quantify - a vernal spur to tap into, or absorb, which may be underestimated. Perhaps autumnal energies will bring their own, unforeseeable fructuations. Let's hope so. Let's hope, also that the ground is well prepared over the longer than usual interim - that the incoming curator is selected promptly, clearly and efficiently resourced in order to establish continuity and maintain the quality of programming that a loyal audience will wish to support.