Poetry Jukebox for the city is first in the west

Two Galway writers have secured the rights to The Poetry Jukebox installation in Galway, the first of such in the West of Ireland.

Jim Ward and James O’Toole, who, among other things, are published poets, first secured an agreement from the Prague-based patent -holders to bring a Poetry Jukebox to Galway, lending to the artistic credentials of our vibrant city.

The Poetry Jukebox initiative is the idea of Prague based Piano-on-the-Streets. The cultural activist Ondrej Kobza, is the brains behind the project [www.thepoetryjukebox.com], which seeks to bring culture such as poetry to ‘non-traditional areas’.

Each Poetry Jukebox generally contains 20 poems in MP3 form in a patented design structure. The poetry selected should ‘reflect the contemporary situation in the city, the country, or the world’.

The initiative has since spread to a number of cities worldwide, with Belfast being a recent addition; there is one in Dublin, and in the Patrick Kavanagh Centre in Monaghan. More recently a temporary Poetry Jukebox has been installed outside Galway Museum as part of an exhibition on the Centenary Decade. This has featured local poets.

Jim and James have secured the first rights to a permanent Poetry Jukebox in Galway once the required funding for the franchise (€13K ) has been secured.

They have also now found a location for their Jukebox – in the University Hospital in Galway and other HSE centres in the west. Permission has been granted and the project is happily on track.

Jim Ward first thought of the idea for Galway, having witnessed the installation in Belfast, and brought his idea to James O’Toole, who edits the monthly poetry talent showcase Vox Galvia page in Galway Advertiser. Together they managed to secure with the Prague franchise holders the first rights for this in Galway, marking a first for the West and underpinning Galway’s literary legacy.

‘This Poetry Jukebox is proving very popular in the cities it has been installed in throughout Europe and North America. Local poets are given an opportunity to be heard – literally! – and there is no shortage in Galway.

“It is also a record of contemporary history as the topics written about tend to be current. The content can be curated regularly so a variety of local poets can be heard’, said Jim Ward.

An iDonate Go-Fund-Me campaign will be launched as will support be sought from literature friendly Galway businesses and Galway City Council Arts Office.

“This project is revolutionary in that we’re proposing a mobile Jukebox which can be rotated around HSE centres in the west, giving local poets a spoken voice in their areas. Its proposed mobility is an important feature,” James O’Toole added.


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