Unpublished Poet Awarded
Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Prize

President Michael D. Higgins (center right) and his wife Sabina (center left) pictured with the 2014 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award winner John Fitzgerald (second from right).

By Matthew Skwiat, Contributing Editor
December / January 2015

The literary world welcomed a new talent in September when the prestigious Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award was given to UCC librarian John Fitzgerald. A virtual unknown, having no previous publications, Fitzgerald was quoted in the Irish Times as saying, “I wasn’t into publishing anything, mainly because I did not think it was up to standard.”

All that changed when his first collection of poems, Leaving My Husband, was released. Since his win, Fitzgerald’s book has been shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award 2015.

Fitzgerald, who hails from Lissarda, Co. Cork, only started writing poetry four years ago. A graduate of UCC he had previously worked as a librarian for Trinity College, Dublin before starting at UCC in 1996. As he noted, “it’s very good to have the day job and to be working in an environment which is hospitable to literature.” He cites Elizabeth Bishop as an early influence and credits his schooling days at De La Salle College in Macroom as a place he said, “developed my love of literature.”

 

One Response to “Unpublished Poet Awarded
Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Prize”

  1. vjkelly says:

    I wrote with the late Harry Chapin…and for Sid Bernstein. Where do I go to make someone aware of my lyrics or poems.
    MY IRISH ROSE

    In the corner of the pub I stand and raise my glass
    and ask the folks to drink a toast to my Irish Lass
    the one I left behind – the one with the Irish smile
    the one I left behind – the one with the Irish eyes
    so raise your glass and drink a toast to my Irish lass
    cause hope and dreams of love and life they all go by so fast

    she said oh Jimmy please don’t go – you know I love you so
    I kissed her lips and held her tight she was my Irish rose
    then packed my bags with hopes and dreams and off to old New York
    and left her waving on the pier my rose of County Cork
    I said someday I would return and marry you my lass
    but days and weeks turned into months as years went by so fast

    In the corner of the pub I stand and raise my glass
    and ask the folks to drink a toast to my Irish Lass
    the one I left behind – the one with the Irish smile
    the one I left behind – the one with the Irish eyes
    so raise your glass and drink a toast to my Irish lass
    cause hope and dreams of love and life they all go by so fast

    I thought someday I would return with pockets full of gold
    but time has not been good to me I’m a penny short of poor
    it took me years to find my way back to County Cork
    to try and find my Irish lass but she had died the year before
    and on her stone the words they read – forever Jimmy boy
    I place a flower on her grave – god bless my Irish Rose

    By Vincent J Kelly (c)2000
    from the song My Irish Rose
    vincentjkelly@yahoo.com

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