14th Annual PoetryFest

Curated by Nick Laird


Free $25–65 (inclusive of fees)

Dec 1, 2023 – Dec 3, 2023



Box Office


Phone hours:
10am-6pm, Monday-Friday

In person:
Opens 60 minutes before the performance on show days


Irish Arts Center 
726 11th Avenue 
Hell's Kitchen, NYC


A step away from the din of Midtown—and a haven from devices and other distractions—PoetryFest sets its own pace for an exchange of emotions and ideas through the words of bards from both sides of the Atlantic. In this engaging “literary revelry” (New Yorker) curated by Nick Laird, we configure our flexible theatre into its most intimate setting for readings and conversations that celebrate the poet’s capacity to sculpt words into breathtaking visions of our world.

Most events are free, but reservations are recommended.

Tara Bergin, Sara Berkeley, Timothy Donnelly, Elisa Gonzalez, Terrance Hayes, Thomas McCarthy, Mary Noonan, Sharon Olds, and Tom Sleigh.

“PoetryFest brings together writers from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss, read from and generally cheer on the enduring poetic community of Ireland”—Time Out New York


Favorite Irish Poems
Our opening night tradition of bringing together special guests and festival poets to share the Irish verses they love most. Featuring special guests Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Lucy Caldwell, Aidan Connolly, Michelle Gallen, Rachael Gilkey, Michael Patrick MacDonald, Consul General Helena Nolan, Dael Orlandersmith and Pauline Turley, with festival poets Sara Berkeley, Tara Bergin, Timothy Donnelly, Elisa Gonzalez, Thomas McCarthy, Mary Noonan, Tom Sleigh and curator Nick Laird.

8PM | $25 and up, including after-party 

Seats released!


Laurie Anderson  "The Rescue" by Seamus Heaney, “Madman” and “Ireland 2002” by Paul Durcan, “The Avenue” by Paul Muldoon, and “A Coat” by William Butler Yeats
Tara Bergin  "Eve / Mé Éba, Ben Ádaim Uill,” a 10th or 11th century old Irish poem in English translation by Frank O'Connor
Consul General Helena Nolan  "Roots/Branches" by Nithy Kasa 
Michael Patrick MacDonald  "This Poem is a Zone of Sanctuary" by Paula Meehan 
Aidan Connolly  "Hedgehog" by Paul Muldoon 
Elisa Gonzalez  "Mo Mháistir Dorcha" / "My Dark Master" by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill,  translated into English by Paul Muldoon
Michelle Gallen   "Dónal Óg" 8th century Irish poem in English translation by Lady Gregory 
David Byrne  "Celtic Twilight" by William Butler Yeats 
Mary Noonan  “Fans” by Matthew Sweeney
Lucy Caldwell  "All Over Again" by Louis MacNeice 
Thomas McCarthy  "The Women" by Eavan Boland 
Sara Berkeley  “Shapes and Shadows" by Derek Mahon 
Nick Laird  "Body of an American" by Shane MacGowan 
Pauline Turley  "Drive" by Leonita Flynn 
Timothy Donnelly  "Prayer Before Birth" by Louis MacNeice 
Tom Sleigh  "Mint” by Seamus Heaney 
Rachael Gilkey  "The Vocation" by Nick Laird


Free readings all day from the festival poets.

3:30pm // Tara Bergin, Elisa Gonzalez, and Timothy Donnelly

5pm // Sara Berkeley and Terrance Hayes


1pm // Mary Noonan and Tom Sleigh

2:30pm // Desert Island Poems: Thomas McCarthy and Sharon Olds, in conversation with Nick Laird. Each poet chooses 5 poems they would bring to a desert island with them.

4pm // Thomas McCarthy and Sharon Olds 

Lead event partner: The Adrian Brinkerhoff Poetry Foundation. Presented with generous support from Culture Ireland, Northern Ireland Bureau, and Tourism Ireland.





Featured Media

Our Supporters

Irish Arts Center programs are supported, in part, by government, foundation, and corporate partners including Culture Ireland, the agency for the promotion of Irish arts worldwide; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office and the New York City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; Howard Gilman Foundation; Tourism Ireland; the Jerome L. Greene Foundation; the Adrian Brinkerhoff Poetry Foundation; the Charina Endowment Fund; the Ireland Funds; the Shubert Foundation, Inc.; the Arnhold Foundation; the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; the Irish Institute of New York; the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, New York; Northern Ireland Bureau; Invest NI; CIE Tours International; the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Consulate of Ireland in New York; and thousands of generous donors like you.


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