25th March: 10.30am
Accentuating the Poetical: A Civic Conversation
You are invited to participate in a seriously convivial conversation about the ‘poetical’ in our civic and cultural living – that aspect of our conversation with others which stirs hearts, invigorates, inspires, gives delight, fosters hope, reveals truth, and can spur to wise action for the common good of people and planet.
The idea of convening a conversational gathering focused on ‘the poetical’ was prompted by the experience of participating over the past decade in diverse conversations in a variety of civic spaces. One observation about these ‘civic conversations’ – in which people can come together to listen attentively and talk thoughtfully about issues that matter to them as citizens (of planet Earth) – is that there is often an interplay between the rational, the practical and the poetical. The third of these aspects, ‘the poetical’, gives life and light, energy and inspiration to the conversational experience. And friendly collaborations and freshly transformative ‘small acts of creative transgression’ can flow from conversation of this character.
Such observations prompt questions – e.g. about the extent to which acknowledging and enacting the poetical can provide an affecting counterpoint to the pervasively ‘mechanical’ in an arguably materialistic society dominated by prosaic and uninspiring political leadership; or about ways in which accentuating the poetical in our conversation can help to enliven and enrich our civic and cultural togetherness.
With these sorts of questions in mind, this event will include:
- reflections on the experiences of people from across Ireland and beyond who have been gathering online for convivial, open conversation since the early days of the covid-19 pandemic in March 2020;
- readings, recitations and other poetical performances;
- opportunities for everyone present to share, so far as they wish, snippets of ‘the poetical’ that they have been/are affected by – whether in written or spoken words in poetry or in prose, or in ways of being and doing that they encounter.
If you decide to participate, you are invited to bring to the gathering something from your lives that can contribute to a conversation where diverse voices will be heard.
The event will be co-hosted and facilitated by Anne McMaster and Denis Stewart, together with several others of those who have been gathering conversationally since March 2020.
Anne McMaster is a writer, poet, playwright and voice actor, who has taken part in literary events and spoken word festivals in Ireland, the UK, and the US. Walking Off the Land, her debut poetry collection focusing on life on a small Ulster farm, was published in June 2021 by Hedgehog Poetry Press. Denis Stewart, now in his post-professional phase of life, is a member of the Fife-based International Futures Forum and an enthusiast for conversation in civic spaces (both physical and virtual). He tends to the view expressed in 1937 by Quaker historian, Rufus M Jones, that quiet processes and small circles can be where vital and transforming events take place.
Learn more: International Futures Forum