by Emily Weitzman
The Long Valley Pub is the kind of typical, cozy, dimly lit Irish establishment that perpetually smells of Guinness. I climb up a tight stairwell to the tucked away bar that hosts Cork’s weekly poetry open-mic on my first evening in the city. I came to Ireland to escape—from what, I’m not so sure. I have a poetry grant, which provides me, a recent college graduate, with the freedom and money to travel the world solo for a year. Yet each new place I make home inevitably leaves me restless. My eighth time starting over in a new country this year, the feeling of the unfamiliar has become almost ordinary. I don’t have a clear sense of direction, yet I cannot stop moving. This is my last month of movement, this time in Ireland, before heading home. The decision to come here was almost an afterthought: a place so steeped in literary tradition, why not? As I order a pint and take a seat by myself in the packed room of Cork poets, Ireland seems more steeped in beer than anything else.