Diversifying Irish Poetry (DIP) is an IRC-funded project led by Dr Catherine Gander. The strategic partner (and registered charity) is Poetry Ireland. Above all, DIP aims to establish a sustainable mentorship programme in Ireland for poetry critics from under-represented, minority ethnic groups whose access to critical culture is hindered by structural racism and migration. This programme will lead to publication in mainstream print and online platforms. Run in collaboration with Ledbury Poetry Critics, for which Dr Gander is a co-organiser, DIP adapts Ledbury's highly successful mentorship scheme to the specific contexts of Irish poetry and poetry criticism. Targeted towards a new wave of critics of colour, the programme aims to usher in change to reviewing and commissioning cultures.  

DIP also provides a robust data gathering and monitoring mechanism, which will feed into a project report on diversity, equality, and inclusion in Ireland's reviewing culture and broader literary landscape.

The project’s ethos is that critical culture shapes and expands reading culture; hopefully, this project can also invigorate the wider national and international critical conversation about poetry, race and diversity.

Among DIP's objectives and outputs are: 

  • An open competition mentorship scheme for poetry critics of colour in Ireland
  • Fostering new critical voices, and opening doors for a diverse range of critics
  • An online reviewing workshop, open to the public via application
  • A two-day residency of workshops, talks and tutorials at Maynooth University for the selected critics
  • A reflective report on the project as well as anonymised data on published critics from a wide range of publishing platforms across the island of Ireland
  • Meaningful and sustainable change to Ireland’s literary networks, and by extension, to the value Irish society gives to diversity in the arts. 


Poetry Critics of Colour application information

A full schedule of events is forthcoming.

  • Mid-May—July 1st: applications open for new Poetry Critics of Colour in Ireland
  • June: an open workshop on reviewing poetry will run collaboratively between Maynooth University and Poetry Ireland
  • July: a workshop for mentors will run collaboratively between Maynooth University, Ledbury Critics, and Poetry Ireland
  • Late July—March 2022: mentorship will take place
  • November/December: further workshops for the DIP critics; critics begin to pitch and publish reviews across Irish literary publications
  • March 2022: a two-day residency for DIP critics involving a suite of workshops, talks, roundtables and masterclasses from mentors and visiting experts, including Ledbury Critics
  • April 2022 (beyond the project): DIP critics participate as moderators at the Cúirt Literature Festival
  • End of Project: a reflective and data-driven report on the project and gathered ethnicity statistics will be produced by Dr Catherine Gander

Our board of advisors consists of: 

Catherine Gander (chair)
Poetry Ireland: Niamh O’Donnell (director), Elizabeth Mohen, Paul Lenehan. 
Supriya Dhaliwal
Seán Hewitt
Ken Keating (MEAS: Measuring Equality in the Arts Sector)
Ailbhe McDaid (MEAS: Measuring Equality in the Arts Sector)
Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan
Sandeep Parmar (Ledbury Poetry Critics)
Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe

For updates and more information, see our twitter profile @DIPoetrycritics