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Final Call: Poems for Patience Competition

By 3 February 2023No Comments

Saolta Arts continue to seek entries for its annual poetry competition. The poetry competition is run in conjunction with the Poems for Patience series as part of Cúirt International Festival of Literature which takes place from April 18th – 23rd. The closing date for the competition is Friday, February 17th 2023.

Kevin Higgins, writer in residence, has judged the competition since its inception in 2013.  Following Kevin’s death earlier this year; his wife Susan Millar DuMars has agreed to judge the competition this year in accordance with Kevin’s wishes.  Saolta Arts are indebted and delighted to welcome Susan on board.  Kevin continued to write while he was in hospital, and has gifted a poem written in November 2022 to the collection.  This will be inducted into the Poems for Patience permanent collection allowing patients and staff to reflect on his residency and celebrate his contribution at the event.  Kevin will continue to be remembered through his poetry as well as by the many student/patients he worked with in Galway’s public hospitals.

Margaret Flannery Arts Director ‘We wish to offer our condolence to Susan Millar DuMars and Kevin’s, family, friends and the many students and poets he mentored.  As we continue to come to terms with his loss we are grateful to Susan for stepping in to judge the competition. In this time of grieving it is a way to remember Kevin and his contribution to Arts and Health.  It was a pleasure to work with Kevin over the past seventeen years and we will remember him fondly in Galway University Hospitals as a wonderful, witty poet, exemplary teacher full of encouragement and positivity, and a good friend to us all.  We are delighted the competition will continue to support up and coming poets on their literary journey.”

Competition Prize:

The winning poet will have their poem published and displayed on the Arts Corridor of University Hospital Galway as part of the 2023 Poems for Patience series. Poems for Patience is a long running series which over the past nineteen years has featured poems by leading Irish and international poets such as Seamus Heaney, Philip Schultz, Jane Hirschfield, Michael Longley, Naomi Shihab Nye, Vona Groarke, Tess Gallagher and many more. The poems, after exhibition on the Arts Corridor, are then displayed in waiting areas throughout Galway University Hospitals and in 2023 will also be distributed to our public hospitals in Ballinasloe, Castlebar, Roscommon, Sligo and Letterkenny.

The winner will also be:

  • invited to read his or her winning poem at the launch of the 2023 Poems for Patience at Cúirt International Festival of Literature on 18th April 2023,
  • provided with accommodation in Galway if travelling for one night during the festival,
  • given a copy of their poem printed and framed as a Poem for Patience poster,
  • invited to submit six poems for consideration to be a Featured Reader at the Over The Edge: Open Reading series in Galway City Library.

Susan Millar DuMars will make a shortlist by March 7th and the winner will be announced on March 14th 2023.


Criteria details include: poems entered in the competition should be no more than 32 lines long. They must be the original work of the entrant. Poems previously published in magazines or poetry collections are eligible. Multiple entries are accepted; poets can enter as many poems as they wish. Entry fees: to enter one poem the fee is €10. If you enter two or more poems the entry fee is €7.50 per poem i.e. to enter two poems it costs €15, to enter three poems €22.50 and so on. Payment can be made online or alternatively by cheque or postal order payable to Saolta Arts. Entries should be sent by post or email to Margaret Flannery, Arts Director, Saolta Arts, c/o University Hospital Galway, Newcastle Road, Galway /*Do not put your name on the poems; please include your contact details on a separate sheet. This is to keep all poets anonymous during the judging process.

Please include your contact details – name, address, email address telephone and title of poem(s) – ensure these details are on a separate page and poems are titled. If you are emailing your entry, use the same process as above and send poem(s) as attachments. The closing date for the competition is Friday, February 17th 2023.

For any other queries contact Margaret Flannery, Arts Director, Saolta Arts, Galway University Hospitals, Newcastle Road, Galway Tel: +353 (0)87 1478394 Email:


Susan Millar DuMars Biography

Susan Millar DuMars has published five poetry collections with Salmon Poetry.  The most recent, Naked: New and Selected Poems, appeared in 2019.  She is currently finishing a work of fiction for which she received an Arts Council bursary.  Susan and her husband, Kevin Higgins, ran the Over the Edge readings series in Galway for twenty years.


Image Credit: Saolta Arts




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