All Ireland Slam Poetry champion won with a poem about replacing priests with drag queens

Shauna Lee Lynch has won the national poetry competition with her poem 'Make the World Gay Again'.

All Ireland Slam Poetry champion won with a poem about replacing priests with drag queens

This year’s winner of the All Ireland Slam Poetry Competition, Shanna Lee Lynch, has won the title with a poem called ‘Make the World Gay Again’.

The 28 year-old from Cork has just finished a run in Cork Arts Theatre of a play she wrote, Wishful Thinking, which was shown at Dublin Fringe Festival earlier this year.

Shauna studied drama as a teenager and went on to gain a level 8 degree from Dublin Institute of Technology in drama.

She told that her love of drama stemmed from a fascination with film and TV.

“I was very much absorbed by TV programmes as a kid. I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer and comedies. I like being able to create worlds and makeup characters.

“When I was 15, I joined Activate youth theatre at Graffiti. They give you the freedom to devise your own stuff. They treat you as if you’re an adult. I loved it and did a lot of devising and acting.”

Having returned to Cork in recent years, she made friends with people involved in the poetry scenes and started attending weekly poetry slams.

“I thought that what they were doing was great, and I decided to give the open mic sessions a try.”

Shauna says a lot of her poetry has feminist themes.

“I use a lot of traditional tropes and mix them with modern pop culture. I get inspiration from what’s going on socially and politically. I wrote a lot about Repeal the 8th.

“When I was starting out writing poetry, I wrote about Trump and Brexit but it’s the same thing with that two. There’s nothing new there. I’m sick of Brexit and of Trump. So I started writing more about fantastical things, like turning a church into a gay night club.”

She competed at this year’s All Ireland Slam Poetry Competition in Dublin where she competed in three rounds to win the title.

“In the first poem I performed, I imagined replacing priests with drag queens. The second poem I performed is my favourite one. It’s about replacing technology with witch craft, magic and older beliefs.

“When I got to the third round, I performed The Women of Ireland about the Belfast rugby sexual assault trial of 2018. The poem references the Tuath Dé Danann, mermaids, banshees and everybody being angry with Lady Justice.”

Having won the national title, Shauna now hopes to go on tour and means that she has the opportunity to represent Ireland in the European Slam Competition which takes place in Paris next March.

Here is one of her winning poems:

Make the World Gay Again

Here ye, here ye-

after a catastrophic history

of conflict & sanctimony,

we’ve decided it’s time

to give something else a try.

A new proposal we instate

for all priests to be replaced

by flamboyant poets and drag queens.

Sanction Sunday mass a disco,

a DJ at each altar,

a monastery of mirror balls,

communions of joy and laughter.

Fine attire must be donned,

be ready to twirl for the Gods.

All that condemnation to hell

got quite exhausting

so we’ll try a more

celebratory approach

of love and compassion.

That was

of course our initial aim

but of it,

we’ve made a hames,

it’s high time for a change,

to spice up our lives as those girls say.

We’ll keep the wine,

encourage to be kind,

throw a party in the pulpit.

Fill the pews

with those for who

an apology is long overdue

for any humiliation

we may have caused.

We’ll keep the rainbow windows,

the stations of the cross-dressers.

Switch Adam & Eve with the snake

to Britney at the VMA’s,

exchange Mary Magdalene for Madonna-

‘Like A Prayer’ and ‘I’m a Slave 4 u’

will be sung wildly by the choir.

Let’s applaud divas, jezebels and whores,

thank those who came before

for no one here will cast stones,

we be out here living our best lives-

hashtag MassGoals.

When the ceremony begins

this performer in heels,

taller than Croagh Patrick

will open her mouth with sassiness

and teach kindness on her tongue.

We’ll pray to patron saints

RuPaul and Panti Bliss,

all the Stonewall kids,

those wrongly persecuted

& those who dared to Vogue.

The world is hard enough

without being told

you are full of sin.

We’ve come to this realisation.

So we’ve decided to let that sit

for the time being.

The church will now be fun

and inclusive of everyone,

it’s been in the closet for far too long

It needs a re-vamp, perhaps a false lash,

a sequined gown

to stop all the moping around.

We hope fringe culture inspired glamour

can save us from our sorrow

we thoroughly regret the shame

we endorsed

and forced you to internalise.

Now go fourth and wrap yourself in light,

give yourself that ‘Ooh Ahh Ahh’

and let’s make the world gay again.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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