Irish Arts Center





Photo Credits: Gareth Franklin, Sean Hardie, Mike Minehan, Tina Ruisinger


7th annual

New York’s only three-day festival of contemporary poetry from both sides of the Atlantic.

Curated by Belinda McKeon and Aengus Woods

Presented in association with Literary Hub
and Glucksman Ireland House – NYU

November 6 – 8

Our seventh annual PoetryFest celebrates Ireland and America’s great literary connection by showcasing an array of superb poets from both countries. The only New York festival of its kind, PoetryFest brings audiences and poets together for three days of readings, conversations, and signings in the intimate atmosphere of Irish Arts Center.


Fiona Benson is this year’s Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize-winner for her debut collection Bright Travellers. She received an Eric Gregory award in 2006 and was a participant in the Faber New Poets program in 2009. Bright Travellers was also shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

Ciaran Carson was born in Belfast, and is the author of nine books of poetry and four prose works, and the winner of several awards including the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize for Best Poetry Collection and the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize (for his translation of Dante’s Inferno). He Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen's University, Belfast.

Elaine Feeney grew up on a farm in Athenry, County Galway and is considered a strong part of contemporary political Irish writers. Feeney has published three collections of poetry Indiscipline (2007), Where’s Katie? (2010) and The Radio was Gospel (2014). Her writing has been published widely in literary magazines, journals and anthologies and translated into many languages.

Leontia Flynn was born in County Down in 1974. Her first book These Days (2004) won the Forward prize for best First Collection, and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Prize, and won her the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Her third collection, Profit and Loss, was Poetry Book Society Choice for Autumn 2011, and shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize.

Alan Gillis is from Belfast and now lives in Scotland, where he teaches English at The University of Edinburgh. His fourth poetry collection, Scapegoat, was published by The Gallery Press in 2014. This followed Here Comes the Night (2010), Hawks and Doves, and Somebody, Somewhere. In 2014 he was selected as a “Next Generation Poet” by the Poetry Book Society.

Kerry Hardie has published six collections of poetry with The Gallery Press, most recently Her Selected Poems and The Zebra Stood in the Dark (Boodaxe Press UK). Prizes include the Irish National Poetry Prize, The Michael Hartnett Award and the Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award from the University of St Thomas, Minnesota.

Lucy Ives was born in New York City, graduated from Harvard College, received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and is currently completing a PhD in comparative literature at NYU. She is the author of Anamnesis (2009), Nineties (2013), Orange Roses (2013), and The Worldkillers (2014). She is co-editor of Triple Canopy.

Alicia Ostriker is a poet, critic, and activist from New York City. Twice a finalist for the National Book Award, Ostriker has published numerous volumes of poetry, including The Book of Seventy (2009), which received the Jewish National Book Award.

Connie Roberts, a County Offaly native, emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1983. She has received the Patrick Kavanagh Award, and was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series, among many other honors. Her debut collection of poetry, Little Witness, is inspired by her experiences growing up in an industrial school (orphanage) in the Irish midlands. She teaches creative writing at Hofstra University, and is part of Hofstra’s Irish Studies program.

Tracy K. Smith is a Pulitzer Prize-winning (Life on Mars 2012) author of three books of poetry, and of the critically acclaimed memoir Ordinary Light. Among her many awards and honors, in 2014 the Academy of American Poets awarded Smith with the Academy Fellowship.

Vijay Seshadri was born in Bangalore, India and raised in Columbus, Ohio. His poetry collections include 3 Sections, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; The Long Meadow, and Wild Kingdom. He currently teaches poetry and nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College, where he has held the Michele Tolela Myers Chair.
Gjertrud Schnackenberg was born in Tacoma, Washington. She has been awarded the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Berlin Prize, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Radcliffe Institute, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Her most recent collection is Heavenly Questions (2010).

Wendy Xu is a 2014 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow and most recently the author of You Are Not Dead (2013), and Naturalism (2015). Her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, Boston Review, Poetry, and widely elsewhere. Born in Shandong, China, in 1987, she lives and teaches in Brooklyn.

After each event the poets will gather in the gallery to mingle with the audience and sign books.

Supported by WB Yeats Society of New York, Brooklyn-based journal Stonecutter, Landmark Tavern, and Amish Market



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Belinda McKeon & Aengus Woods on what makes PoetryFest special


Friday, November 6 

Favorite Poems
8 pm   

Special Guests

Joe Dowling
Former Artistic Director for the Guthrie Theater and Abbey Theatre, Dublin

Jimmy Fay
Executive Producer, Lyric Theatre, Belfast

Peter Quinn
Novelist, essayist, and a chronicler of Irish-America

Katie Raissian
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Brooklyn-based journal Stonecutter

Kevin Holohan
Brooklyn-based Irish writer of The Brothers' Lot

Orla Tinsley
A campaigner, author and journalist from County Kildare in Ireland

$35, including after party with poets

The welcome return of this intimate and special evening where IAC’s friends and special guests read a selection of well-known and personally-chosen best-loved poems.

Saturday, November 7  

Stonecutter presents Emerging Voices

Featuring four emerging poets from Ireland and the US, brought to IAC PoetryFest by the Brooklyn-based journal Stonecutter.

Lucy Ives, Elaine Feeney, Connie Roberts, & Wendy Xu
2 pm

Leontia Flynn & Tracy K. Smith
4 pm

Ciaran Carson & Vijay Seshadri
6 pm

Sunday, November 8   

Alan Gillis and Alicia Ostriker
1:30 pm


Yeats at 150: Cast A Cold Eye?
Panel Discussion
Featuring Elaine Feeney, Alan Gillis, Kerry HardieModerated by James Pethica
3 pm

Kerry Hardie & Gjertrud Schnackenberg
5 pm   


Click here to download the press release

The Tom Quinlan Lecture in Poetry:
Fiona Benson

Thursday, November 5 | 7 pm

At Glucksman Ireland House – NYU
One Washington Mews New York, NY

Reserve your tickets at or 212-998-3950 (option 3)

The Tom Quinlan Lecture in Poetry at Glucksman Ireland House honors Tom, a public school teacher in Philadelphia, a lover of poetry, and Glucksman Ireland House member since 1997; the lecture is endowed by his family. The Quinlan Lecture is offered in partnership with the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queens University, Belfast, hosting Heaney Centre Prize-winner.

The 2015 winner of the Heaney Prize is Fiona Benson for her book Bright Travellers.



Box office phone 866-811-4111
Administrative office phone 212-757-3318 fax 212-247-0930
553 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019 | DIRECTIONS
General information
Office hours Monday-Friday 10 AM – 6 PM

Irish Arts Center programs, are made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Irish Arts Center programs, are made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Irish Arts Center programs are supported, in part, by Culture Ireland, the agency for the promotion of Irish arts worldwide.

Irish Arts Center programs are supported, in part, by government partners including the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; Culture Ireland, the agency for the promotion of Irish arts worldwide; the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Consulate of Ireland in New York; the Northern Ireland Bureau; British Council Northern Ireland; the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; The American Ireland Fund; Howard Gilman Foundation; Tourism Ireland; Bloomberg Philanthropies; and thousands of generous donors like you.

© 2017 Irish Arts Center