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Mairead Byrne


The sun and wind unloose their store
We cast our lines and off we go
The wavelets surge, the mountains roar
The sea and sky unloose their store
We bounce our way from shore to shore
Out’s in, in’s out, up’s down or—whoa
The sun and wind unloose their store
We cast our lines and off we go



The World Today
7:35am Poetry News
7 mins
Presented by Justin Casey

Justin Casey: It’s time for poetry. Rick O’Shea is here and Nottingham has a cake and candles, there’s a 70th birthday in Nottingham.

Rick O’Shea: That’s right Justin, good morning to you there, Poetic Champions in Nottingham, for the 70th time we have a thrilling victory in Parnassus the Martin Stannards edging out their 7th decade with a poem. Looked really for a long stage as if we were going to be headed for a standoff but Martin Stannard lobbed a late poem to give the Martin Stannards the win and there was a poem just after midnight too, from Martin Stannard, which set the Martin Stannards on their way … In Nottingham last night our Poetic Champions Correspondent Sam Likely caught up with editor Jay Stor and star poet Martin Stannard.

Martin Stannard: The last couple of minutes very nervewracking you know, it could have went either way but thank God Martin got that poem and I suppose when midnight struck yeah it’s just like the sigh of relief and it’s just the best feeling in the world, you couldn’t describe it, when that clock strikes and you’re the team that’s on top, yeah, you can’t even describe it, it was just incredible.

Sam Likely: It’s been a remarkable time because I know that on Friday night you were outlining all the different things that happened away from poetry and how it’s been a tough enough time, for all of you, but my gosh they have a great spirit haven’t they, the Martin Stannards?

Jay Stor: Yeah look they’re an unbelievable bunch of poets, I suppose. We had a meeting on Friday night there and just one of the things they put up was all the kind of things that went against us during the year on and off the page and there was a huge long list there and it’s hard to deal with that but look in fairness to the Martin Stannards … you can’t beat new Martin Stannards coming in and I know Martin was gone for a while but he came back in, with freshness as well, and Martin Stannard, Martin Stannard, you know, all these new Martin Stannards coming in, and it just adds a bit of freshness to the whole thing and it’s just unbelievable now when you get over the line.

Sam Likely: Being back as Poetic Champions winning editor on a personal level because it’s a huge commitment you have to be at every book launch, you’re thinking all the time of the poets. So what’s it like for you?

Jay Stor: It’s unbelievable.

Sam Likely: Martin, can you describe what Nottingham will be like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, for the rest of the week, maybe in fact for all time?

Martin Stannard: Em I think it’s going to take a while to sink in really, from talking to a couple of the poets in Parnassus, it doesn’t really seem like it has sunk in yet. I suppose just the commitment that all the Martin Stannards have put in all their life, like it’s paid off and we’re just over the moon but I don’t think it will hit us until a couple of days time but there’s plenty of celebrating to be done in Nottingham over the next couple of days.

Rick O’Shea:  No doubt about that. Martin Stannard and before that Jay Stor and Sam will be back with us again after half past eight.

*with thanks to Morning Ireland, RTE Radio One, 8 August 2022



Martin who even as he explains the rules makes it clear that he both does and does not care about them.
Martin who shaves finer and finer prevarications off every declaration as if it were stale Parmesan.
Martin who is a faithful altar boy for poetry though I don’t know if he’s Catholic.
Martin who may or may not say the first thing that comes into his head.
Martin who is so certain he’s right he points out where he is wrong.
Martin who surely must be the handsomest man that ever lived!
Martin who gives whether his hands are empty or full.
Martin whose Globe Theatre is in his cranium.
Martin who is definitely a poet now! 

Copyright © Mairead Byrne, 2022


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