' one of Europe's most exciting cultural forums'
to school for the summer
THIRTEEN years of the Hopkins Festival in Monasterevin, Co Kildare, has brought to maturity one of Europe's most exciting cultural forums.
Each year, the number of Irish people attending grows, as does the cohort of overseas visitors, who make the journey from Japan, Russia, Europe, America, South America, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The event is anchored in the work and life of the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, who spent. much of his time and produced some of his finest and darkest work in the town of Monasterevin. His presence and the presence of the school are germane to the character of this town, which now boasts a Hopkins Lane, a Hopkins Garden and a Hopkins Sculpture.
The sculpture is just one example of the cultural legacy that been generated in 13 years of the Hopkins Festival. Its creator, James McKenna, is closely associated with the school and is acclaimed as one of Europe's finest stone sculptors. His work, which can be found all over the world, is informed by deeply Irish themes.
Internationally celebrated Irish poet Desmond Egan is the artistic director of the festival arid brings his unique poetic vision to the spirit and content of the event. Poetry readings are central to the Hopkins festival and a number of high profie poets will particpate this year. Klaus Rifbjerg. winner of the Baltic prize for poetry (other wise known as the mini-Nobel Prize) is coming from Denmark, Macedonia's leading poet Mateja Matevski will be there as will one of Spain's leading poets, Justo Jorge Padron. The event will feature Austrian and Italian nights in order to showcase the works of attending poets from these regions. The Hopkins workshops are a key feature, offering published and unpublished poets the chance to gain practical insights into the craft.
This year, a translation workshop, featuring 15 international translators, will explore the fascinating processes at play in the translation of poetry into different languages. The Hopkins Poetry Competition has gained considerable momentum over the years and has resulted in the publication of many new Irish works.
While poetry is the linchpin of the event, its organisers have also generated a significant artistic and musical content. A highlight is always the Classical Music Concert held in the splendid Moore Abbey (courtesy of the Sisters of Charity), once the home of Count John McCormack. Musicians performing this year include the Russian pianist Tatiana Pavlova, who thrilled .the party last year with her performance of Rachmaninov, and Irish traditional ensemble Comhaltas Ceolteori Eireann This is really a skeletal profile of the people and events that will make up this yearŐs festival - check out the web site Url: http://www.iol.ie/~hopkins for a full listing of the poets, lecturers, academics, artists and musicians planning to attend.
Don't be put off by the high calibre of the guest list, however.
The Hopkins Festival is for lovers of culture of any hue, not just Hopkins scholars. It's a week of rich experience, peopled by interesting individuals from all walks of life, and will spark enough inspiration to keep you going through the winter until the 14th festival rolls around. Day visitors are welcome but advance bookings are needed for concerts and Hopkins' Society dinners.
Bookings (including B&B if required) can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
The Golden Echo, News letter of the Gerard Manley Hopkins Society Monasterevin, Co. Kildare
Copyright The GM Hopkins Society