The Blackwater International Poetry Festival takes place August Bank Holiday every year.
Gene Barry Poet, Art Therapist and Psychotherapist is the founder and Chairman of the Blackwater International Poetry Festival. He is also founder of the Blackwater Poetry Group that meets weekly and he additionally administers the highly successful Blackwater Poetry group on Facebook that can boast of having many world famous poets from all continents as members.
The theme of the festival is Inclusion and the objective is to give a voice to all poets; the beginners, the newly published and the internationally recognised. Additionally we strive to bring the magic that is poetry to everyone by holding readings in the street and in boutiques, barber shops, banks, pharmacies, cafes, hairdressing salons, shops, restaurants and pubs. The youngest poet to read at the festival was nine years old and the eldest 92.
With this theme we have included students from the town's three secondary schools and Youthreach Fermoy and in 2013 we added John F Kennedy Highschool in Sacramento California to this list. Students attended weekly poetry workshops in their schools held by Gene and this year the festival committee will include students from numeorus Irish and foreign schools in the anthology.
Poets who have read at previous festivals and who will read at the 2017 festival
Adam Wyeth - Alexander Hutchinson - Anne Tannam - Annelie David - Bradley Strahan - Daniel Roy Connelly
Denis Moriarty - Denisa Duran - Donald Gardner - Donald Platt - Edna Friel - Erin Murphy - Fred Johnston
Francesca Castaño - Gene Barry - Harry Owen - Immanuel Mifsud - Iulia Gherghei - Jan Glas - John W Sexton
Kay Kinghammer - Kim Moore - Kit Fryatt - Knute Skinner - Liam Ryan - Lies Van Gasse - Louis Mulcahy
Martin Reints - Matthew Sweeney - Pauline Fayne - Saskia Stehouwer - Seamus Cashman - Simon Lewis
Pauline Fayne - Saskia Stehouwer - Seamus Cashman - Simon Lewis - Tsead Bruinja - Michael Farry
Miceal Kearney - Michele Vassal - Michael H Clay - Pat Crotty - Patrick Lodge
The 2014 festival bus has been meticulously planned since the closing of last year's festival and will unquestionably leave the previous tours in the background. In fact, the applications for seats for the 2014 festival bus has more than doubled and the committee are considerig a second bus.
The singular objective on the day is to provide an opportunity for poets to enjoy each other's company and to discuss and share their poetry.
The first edition of the Blue Max Review included poems from Matthew Sweeney, Michéle Vassal, John W Sexton, Fahredin Shehu, Keith Armstrong, Noel King, Harry Owen, Tsead Bruinja, Helene Cardona, Jan Glass, Mary Noonan and many other world renowned poets.
The competition overseas winners were Fahredin Shehu from Kosovo, Kim Moore from England and Michéle Vassal from France.
The 2013 festival competition saw a substantial increase in submissions and the overseas winners were Professor Erin Murphy from the USA, Rachel Davies and Ben Johnnson from England and the Irish winner was Doghouse poet Michael farry.
The three international winnere were flown to Ireland for the duration of the festival where they read their winning poem.
Michael Farry won €300 and read with many of the winning and guest poets at the festival.
It was then on to the famous Blackwater Castle in Castletownroche
where some of the poets read in the castle's tower before rounding
up the tour with food and drink at the Rockforest Bar where once again the poets shared their poems.