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Calling all young poets and writers! There is exciting news from Kilkenny Arts Office about its innovative poetry programme Rhyme Rag. Arts Officer Mary Butler sets out the plan, “In 2017 to further support the expansion, stability and sustainability of the Rhyme Rag programme and our community of young writers we are developing a Young Ensemble of writers. Their hands-on involvement will enhance their ownership of the programme and its future and direction.”

This new aspect of the Rhyme Rag is a partnership between the Arts Office and Ossory Youth. The ensemble writers’ group will meet on a monthly basis at Ossory Youth and will be supported by a Rhyme Rag development worker, Nuala Roche. Nuala will support the young people’s participation and ownership of the ensemble and the Rhyme Rag programme. She will progress and guide the Young Ensemble by programming workshops, talks and events for their meetings and at other appropriate times across the year.

To engage potential interest and encourage young writers to engage with Rhyme Rag and this new ensemble, a one-off poetry workshop takes place this Saturday 11th in Ossory Youth. The inimitable Stephen Murray, poet-raconteur, will host New Word Order, a free workshop in experimental verse for young people between 14 and 17 who have a keen interest in reading, writing, poetry and all things verse-related.

“The workshop is guaranteed to ignite your passion for crafting with words. No previous writing experience is required and there will be more information about the Young Ensemble writers’ group at the workshop,” Nuala says, “And if you can’t make it to the workshop but would still like to join the ensemble, send your details to Rhyme Rag and we will get in touch.”

Kilkenny People readers enjoy the creative output of the young Rhyme Rag poets who are published in this paper along with wonderful illustrations by Alé Mercado. Over 140 young people have become published poets with Rhyme Rag. The programme also runs school residencies, library-based poetry workshops. Over 700 young people have participated in the hugely successful workshops that focus on assisting young people in writing poetry, emotional expression, editing their work and reading their work in public.

Rhyme Rag’s New Word Order workshop, Ossory Youth, Desart Hall, Sat 11th, 2.30 to 4.30pm. Admission is free but places are limited, so early booking is advisable.

Book by emailing your contact details and age to or text details to 087 737 7556 (no calls or voicemails).