Curious minds gather to launch Pat Shortall’s third book

Mayor Joe Malone who launched Pat Shortalls poetry book in Thomastown during The Arts Festival 2023

Photos for Thomastown launch by ‘Aidona’ photography

This year’s Alternative Kilkenny Arts festival (AKA) saw a wealth of local talent exhibit their fantastic art and skilled craftsmanship across Kilkenny and Thomastown. Pat Shortall is one such talent who launched his third book of poetry, Words for the Curious Mind, in the Ormonde College and in Thomastown Concert Hall during the festival. The Kilkenny Observer attended both launches.

The preliminary launch of the book took place in the Ormond College on August 12th and was attended by Mayor Joe Malone, Monsignor Ryan, Councillor Pat Fitzpatrick as well as many of Pat’s friends, family, neighbours, and contributors to his CRKC radio show, Sunday Serendipity. The event was hosted by Pat’s daughter, Catherine Cronin, who recalled how her father’s love of nature and words fostered a great delight in poetry in her from a young age. Catherine was particularly grateful and touched by how Pat had dedicated his latest book to her and her siblings, Patrick and Mags.

Pat’s friend, Kevin Curry, gave a warm introduction to the main launch of the book in Thomastown on the evening of August 17th. Indeed, Pat acknowledges that Mr. Curry has been instrumental in the editorial process for this book. Friends and poetry enthusiasts were in attendance including Councillor David Fitzgerald. Tributes were paid to the late Pat Shortis, for whom Pat wrote a poem in his new collection. This piece was read by Ger Cody and was a real highlight of the night.

Attendees to these events were treated to recitations from other readers, including Kathleen Curran, Carolyn Dunne, Margaret Holohan, Angela Kiernan, Ivan Cronin, Brendan Corcoran, Ailish Burke, Mags Shortall, Leisha Thomas, Catherine Murphy, Teresa Ryan and Donal Croghan. The Mayor supported both launches in his attendance and spoke of Pat’s passion for poetry and contribution to the local arts community. Councillor Fitzpatrick also offered praise in his enthusiastic comments to the audience at the Ormonde College launch.

Pat spoke at both occasions and, on Wednesday, read a particularly moving poem called, “Safe in my mind” which is dedicated to his mother, Annie, who passed away when he was 6-years-old. He also offered his sincere gratitude to those in attendance; his fellow Ormonde College exhibitors, his Sunday Serendipity community, the AKA festival, those who helped out at the launch including, his sister-in-law, Kathleen, son-in-law, Ivan, Ber and Billy Phelan, Dina Bambrick, his nieces, Brenda O’Sullivan and Mary Kelly, and his wonderful wife Gerardine.

Words for the Curious Mind is the final instalment in Pat’s trilogy of poetry books. It takes readers on a journey through Pat’s love of nature, Kilkenny, people, and storytelling. His keen eye makes the ordinary seem unexpected and beautiful all at once in poems that are open to everyone. Pat’s book rewards the curious mind with an understanding of the sadness, but, ultimately, the humour of life. His poem, “These Cannot be”, is a list of things that coexist and are interdependent: ‘Child without Play’, ‘Up without down’, ‘Life without loss’, etcetera. One could happily add, ‘Pat Shortall without poetry’ to that list.

Copies of the book can be purchased by phoning Gerardine on 085 7895320

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