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Poems for Patience Poetry Competition 2023

By 22 December 2022No Comments

Saolta Arts is seeking 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 17th – 23rd. The closing date for the competition is Friday, February 17th 2023.

The prize as part of the annual poetry competition includes: the winner 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 in April,
  • 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.

Margaret Flannery Arts Director ‘Poems For Patience is one of our long running projects as part of the Saolta Arts programme. Each year we receive a high volume of entries.  The poetry competition is an opportunity for poets to gift the hospital community with uplifting poetry to take us away even fleetingly from the troubling reality around us and can offer us some comfort and food for the soul.’

Saolta Arts welcomes back competition judge Kevin Higgins who 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:



KEVIN HIGGINS is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway. He has published six full collections of poems: The Boy With No Face (2005), Time Gentlemen, Please (2008), Frightening New Furniture (2010), The Ghost In The Lobby (2014), Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital (2019), & Ecstatic (2022). His poems also feature in Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014). Kevin was satirist-in-residence with the alternative literature website The Bogman’s Cannon 2015-16. 2016 – The Selected Satires of Kevin Higgins was published by NuaScéalta in 2016. The Minister For Poetry Has Decreed was published by Culture Matters (UK) also in 2016. Song of Songs 2:0 – New & Selected Poems was published by Salmon in Spring 2017. Kevin is a highly experienced workshop facilitator and several of his students have gone on to achieve publication success. He has facilitated poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre and taught Creative Writing at Galway Technical Institute for the past fifteen years. Kevin is the Creative Writing Director for the NUI Galway International Summer School and also teaches on the NUIG BA Creative Writing Connect programme. His poems have been praised by, among others, Tony Blair’s biographer John Rentoul, Observer columnist Nick Cohen, writer and activist Eamonn McCann, historian Ruth Dudley Edwards, and Sunday Independent columnist Gene Kerrigan; and have been quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times (London), Hot Press magazine, Phoenix magazine, The Daily Mirror and on The Vincent Browne Show, and read aloud by Ken Loach at a political meeting in London. He has published topical political poems in publications as various as The New European, The Morning Star, Dissent Magazine (USA), Village Magazine (Ireland), & Harry’s Place. The Stinging Fly magazine has described Kevin as “likely the most widely read living poet in Ireland”. Kevin’s poetry has been translated into Greek, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Albanian, French, Russian, & Portuguese. One of Kevin’s poems features in A Galway Epiphany, the final instalment of Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor series of novels which is just published. His work has been broadcast on RTE Radio, Lyric FM, and BBC Radio 4. His book The Colour Yellow & The Number 19: Negative Thoughts That Helped One Man Mostly Retain His Sanity During 2020 was published in late 2020 by Nuascealta. His extended essay Thrills & Difficulties: Being A Marxist Poet In 21st Century Ireland was published in pamphlet form by Beir Bua Press last year. In December 2021 Kevin was both expelled from the British Labour Party, of which he was an overseas member, for publishing his poem ‘Tribute Acts’ in Socialist Appeal magazine and, on the very same day, awarded ‘Poet of The Year’ at the Labour Heroes Awards event at Conway Hall, London. Kevin now writes a regular book review page for Village Magazine, mostly focussing on poetry. This year Kevin received a dozen nominations for the position of Ireland Chair of Poetry – Ireland’s Professor of Poetry. Ecstatic, Kevin’s sixth full poetry collection was published in June 2022 by Salmon Poetry.

Image credit: Saolta Arts

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