Patricia Looney, Senior Executive Librarian, Cork City Libraries, Poet Keith Payne and David G O’Brien, City Librarian, Cork City Libraries as Keith was announced as the libraries’ new eco poet in residence. Photo: Michael O’Sullivan/OSM PHOTO

New Cork City Libraries’ poet in residence is ecology focused

A new eco poet in residence on Leeside will engage communities interested in the ecology of the city like the flora, fauna and human ecology.

Keith Payne, an award-winning poet and translator, was appointed to the role by Cork City Libraries . He has published 7 collections of poetry in translation and original poetry. He was writer in residence for the Red Line Book Festival 2020, John Broderick Writer in Residence 2021, and in 2022 was awarded an Artist in the Community Scheme from Create, for work with refugees in Athlone for the project Tales my Granny Told me.

He said: “This is your city and will be my city for the duration of the residency, and beyond, I hope. I am interested in the ecology of the city; how we move about the place, roving the streets, turning corners to what we find living there. From Crosses Green to Tramore Valley Park, from Blackpool on to the roar of ‘a truck heading for Mallow’.

“I want to hear what you have to say about your city, and how you say it; about what grows under your feet, what flies over your head, the sounds in your ears – yes, those bells! – but also the Irish, English, Spanish and French you hear; the Ndebele, Kekewa, Igbo and Bangla. The accents from across the city and the globe that keep Finnegan awake and alive to the bubbling sound of things being various. So much to celebrate in Cork.”

Keith is Curator of the Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill Poetry Bursary between Ireland and Galicia and a member of Crosswinds: Irish and Galician Poetry and Translation, at the Moore Institute, University of Galway. He was awarded an An Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon Literature Bursary in 2022.

Patricia Looney, Cork City Libraries, said: “Cork City Libraries contribute significantly to the artistic and creative life of the city and we are delighted to continue our support of the arts making creativity and writing accessible to all. We are very thankful to Creative Ireland for enabling this appointment which is the 1st poet in residence for Cork City Council Libraries.”