Stony Thursday celebrates 40 years of literary success in Limerick

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Limerick Arts and Culture Officer Sheila Deegan with this year's Editor Mary O’Donnell, poet, writer and member of Aosdana. Pic: Fusion Shooters

by Alan Jacques

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Limerick Arts and Culture Officer Sheila Deegan with this year's Editor Mary O’Donnell, poet, writer and member of Aosdana. Pic: Fusion Shooters
Limerick Arts and Culture Officer Sheila Deegan with this year’s Editor Mary O’Donnell, poet, writer and member of Aosdana.
Pic: Fusion Shooters

FORTY years of independent thinking, inclusivity and a sense of adventure are being celebrated in the latest edition of one Ireland’s longest-running literary journals.

‘The Stony Thursday Book’, founded by Limerick poets John Liddy and Jim Burke in 1975, is funded by the Limerick Arts Office of Limerick City and County Council and The Arts Council.

Editor of the fortieth edition is poet and writer Mary O’Donnell.

“Over the years, ‘The Stony Thursday Book’ has been characterised by independent thinking, inclusiveness and adventurousness, reflecting what I would like to imagine, was the vision of the founding editors,” Ms O’Donnell explained.

“The number of submissions was huge. What struck me about the poems as a whole was how they reflect the diverse Ireland we now inhabit, and how although poets are preoccupied with ideas and feelings as much as they have always been, the poems now come to be written by people who represent what we have become as citizens of this State — and all that that implies.”

This year’s poetry anthology contains the work of 132 poets from all over Ireland, as well as India, Estonia, Norway, UK, The Netherlands, France, USA, Australia and New Zealand. Cover art for this year’s edition has been provided by Limerick artist Rory Prout.

According to Ms O’Donnell, the poems speak of loss and passion, of poverty and exclusion, as much as poems about love, war, and landscape.

“Many poems, as the best poems often are, are about several things at once. To place the poems within these pages so that they seem to ‘speak’ to one another, was an honour,” she concluded.