George celebrates West Cork and turning 80 in new book

December 18th, 2021 7:05 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Celebrating Eighty book of poems launched by George Salter-Townshend. (Photo: Anne Minihane)

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Celebrating Eighty is the third book of poetry by Castletownshend native George Salter-Townshend.

The book, which features 48 poems on a diverse range of topics, was published in time for George’s actual 80th on November 13th.

Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns said she was delighted to launch George’s poetry collection and that she was especially struck by the works inspired by the West Cork landscape.

‘The book,’ she said, ‘reminds us of the importance of local arts and creativity, which add to our cultural richness and bring visitors to the area.

‘Unfortunately, we have very limited funding opportunities, and many of our talented writers and artists can only pursue their work part-time due to financial pressures.

‘Coming out of a very difficult 18-months,’ she added, ‘we need the imagination and hope that poets, painters, photographers, and musicians offer.’

George said his latest collection features ‘real poetry – none of this modern stuff – and is representative of West Cork and its many ancient sites.’

The first poem Genetic Memory is representative of the environment throughout West Cork.

But the last poem is written in code, said George, and is up to the reader to decipher.

The poems in between cover a range of topics that take the reader on a journey throughout the world and, according to George, offers ‘concrete evidence that we are not alone in the universe.’

His poem African Song is in fact an award winner. A badge featuring a silver ship was presented to George after a ceremony in Abbeystrewry in recognition of the manner in which it speaks out against war and famine.

At the age of 80, George still makes time to keep physically fit, but he said writing poetry is what stimulates his mind.

‘It has become a necessary part of my life,’ he said.

Copies of Celebrating Eighty are available at Cathal O’Donovan’s and Field’s in Skibbereen, as well as Batt Maguire’s shop in Castletownshend.

George said about 200 copies of the book have already been sold and he feels gratified by the positive feedback to his latest offering

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