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a taste of Ireland right here in Columbia

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Upcoming HoCoPoLitSo Events

  • Blackbird Poetry Festival - Featuring Mariyn Chin, Joeseph Ross April 26, 2018 Award-winning poet and author Marilyn Chin headlines the tenth annual Blackbird Poetry Festival for HoCoPoLitSo. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Oregon, activist poet Chin unflinchingly explores the intersection of the Asian and American worlds.The Blackbird Poetry Festival is a day devoted to verse, with student workshops, book sales, readings, and patrols by the…
  • Wilde Reading -- May -- Jennifer Wallace and LOVE the poet May 8, 2018 at 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Columbia Art Center, 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia, MD 21045, USA Wilde Readings is Howard County's only monthly reading and open mic series. Celebrate National Poetry Month at Wilde Readings with featured authors Jennifer Wallace and LOVE the poet a. All are welcome. We encourage you to participate in the open mic. Please prepare no more than five minutes of performance time/two poems. Sign up in advance by calling…

Upcoming Regional Literary Events

  • Wilde Reading -- May -- Jennifer Wallace and LOVE the poet May 8, 2018 at 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Columbia Art Center, 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia, MD 21045, USA Wilde Readings is Howard County's only monthly reading and open mic series. Celebrate National Poetry Month at Wilde Readings with featured authors Jennifer Wallace and LOVE the poet a. All are welcome. We encourage you to participate in the open mic. Please prepare no more than five minutes of performance time/two poems. Sign up in advance by calling…
  • Books In Bloom June 10, 2018 Downtown Columbia Second annual book festival in Downtown Columbia.
  • Baltimore Book Festival September 28, 2018 – September 30, 2018 Baltimore, MD, USA The Baltimore Book Festival features hundreds of author appearances and book signings, 100+ exhibitors and booksellers, non-stop readings on multiple stages, cooking demos by celebrity chefs, poetry readings and workshops, panel discussions, walking tours, storytellers and hands-on projects for kids, street theater, live music, and a delicious variety of food, beer and wine.

Belinda McKeon read from Solace and Tender at the 39th Irish Evening in Columbia, Maryland

A guest blog submitted by Cara Caccamisi, a student in Professor Ryna May’s literature class at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland

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Howard County Poetry and Literature Society’s 39th Annual Irish Evening, which took place at Howard Community College’s Smith Theater on Friday, February 10th at 7:30 pm, was an event of Irish pride and culture. Hosted by Columbia’s own Catherine McLoughlin-Hayes, the HoCoPoLitSo Irish Evening Chair, the evening was a great way to experience Ireland without leaving the state of Maryland.

The auditorium was filled with fascination, excitement, and anticipation from the many spectators, while musician Jared Denhard performed the Celtic Harp. Then, Ms. McLoughlin-Hayes came on stage to introduce the main event for the night. Her enthusiasm set the tone for the evening.

Ms. McKeon chose to read first from Solace which was awarded the Faber Prize and Irish Book of the Year. The passage she read described a conflicting relationship between father and son on a farm in Ireland. Ms. McKeon’s second reading was from her latest book, Tender, about two college friends who meet in Dublin and become close; it shows the transformation of friendship from being teenagers to becoming adults. In her unique and exhilarating story, Ms. McKeon depicts the friend’s difficult relationship as Catherine grows strong feelings for James, who is a homosexual. The book grows extra complicated as it is set in the 1990’s when being homosexual was not widely accepted.

Following the author were the Narrowbacks. The Narrowbacks name is a tribute to the term immigrant, as many of the band members have roots in Ireland and they are inspired by the band, Celtic Thunder. The group members consisted of brothers, Jesse and Terence Winch, Dominick Murray, and Linda Hickman, all of whom were apart of Celtic Thunder. Other members were Terence’s son, Michael Winch and Eileen Estes, daughter of Celtic Thunder’s lead singer.

Many of the songs performed consisted of main themes of nature, growing up as an immigrant, and love. One of the most memorable songs, “Childhood Ground”, was written by Terence Winch and sung by Eileen Estes. It remembers the time when the Bronx Expressway was built and shattered the homes of many Irish families, including Winch’s family home. Traditional Irish music is so distinctive as it combines poetry of hardships, life, and love with rare instruments, known in Ireland. The Irish step dancers from the Culkin School performed during some of the songs played by the Narrowbacks.

With the outstanding performance by the Narrowbacks and the talented step dancers, the audience was very well-entertained. The auditorium was filled with the sound of Ireland, and the spectators joined in on clapping hands and nodding their heads to the music. And Belinda McKeon, a truly brilliant writer, left the listeners craving more of the stories.

HoCoPoLitSo created an enjoyable evening and allowed the viewers a chance to spend an evening immersed in Irish culture.

 


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