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New monthly LGBTQ+ poetry night at Street 66

The success of Wilde Poets, a one-off event last November, has given rise to a new monthly LGBTQ+ poetry and spoken word event, with arts activist and media producer Sonya Mulligan at the helm. 

Pride Poets kicked off on the 22nd of February with its opening night at Street 66, a gay bar on Parliament Street in the heart of Dublin city. 

Dublin Pride organised the event where it will take place on the last Tuesday of every month from 7-9pm.  

“It is about finding alternative queer spaces that are outside of just going to a pub or a club and providing different experiences for people,” Mulligan says.

It is about finding alternative queer spaces that are outside of just going to a pub or a club and providing different experiences for people

Sonya Mulligan

Pictured – Sonya Mulligan. Image Credit: Aoife Daly

It is hosted by Sonya Mulligan, an Irish media producer who directed Outitude – a grassroots documentary about the Irish lesbian movement and its history. 

Mulligan said, “Last year Dublin Pride had a poetry reading as part of Winter Pride and we got a great response from people who just happened to be there. They got up, read, and loved it. We kind of got talking and decided to make it a regular event. 

“We came up with the idea to have three featured poets to read first, so it gives people who maybe have a career or are beginning their poetry career a platform to perform and then there is an open mic after that.  

“It is about finding alternative queer spaces that are outside of just going to a pub or a club and providing different experiences for people.” 

The event took place in the back room of Street 66, allowing for an intimate atmosphere that was enveloped by brightly glowing neon lights with inviting sofas and a second bar area. 

One of the featured poets on the opening night was Ollie Bell, an activist who is the founder of Trans and Intersex Pride Dublin and a postgraduate student at Maynooth University. 

Pictured – Ollie Bell. Image Credit: Aoife Daly

Bell said, “I think it is a great way for people to break out of their shells, see art created by the community and to feel that there is a place where they can go and belong. 

“I was always a writer since I was a child. I used to write poems about nature and stuff like that. As I grew up and came out, it evolved into writing about my personal life, the activism I was involved in and how I see the world.” 

Bell’s performance was followed by Mark Ward who is the founding editor of Impossible Archetype, an international online journal of LGBTQ + poetry – which is accepting submissions for the eleventh issue until the 1st of March. 

For more information you can visit: http://www.impossiblearchetype.wordpress.com/submit/

Pictured – Mark Ward. Image Credit: Aoife Daly

The final guest was June Caldwell, an Irish short-story writer who performed her debut poem for the first time in front of an audience which concluded with a roaring ovation.  

The next Pride Poets event will take place on March 29th and anyone who is interested in reading can email events@dublinpride.ie and submit three poems. 

“It has the potential to have a huge impact because a lot of people have no voice or haven’t been heard and wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable putting a queer themed poem into a publication or do a reading in different places”, adds Mulligan.

 

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