I had a fantastic night reading at Muldoon’s Picnic alongside Paul Muldoon, the Horslips, Maria McManus, Martina Devlin, Peter McVeigh, Stuart Neville, Ann Enright and Michael Longley. It was one of the many great events as part of the inaugural John O’Connor Writing School in Armagh.
This was the first time Paul Muldoon hosted one of his famous ‘picnics’ outside of New York. It was wonderful to be a part of it.
My dad would have been 76 yesterday. As I head up to Laurel Villa in Magherafelt to read this Saturday 12th April, on the eve of what would have been Seamus Heaney’s 75th birthday, I want to share one of my poems for my dad which was inspired by Digging:
My dad spent the day ferrying the dead to the barrack’s makeshift morgue.
His bloodstained nails fleshed out the truth behind the first tense headlines.
In a daze, he decommissioned his paramedic uniform,
dumped jacket, shirt, socks, trousers, even his shoes in our kitchen bin.
He smashed the lid down hard, lashed out, until the tears crashed over
the no-man’s-land of his eyes. Powerless, I watched him surrender to his cries.
I’d spent that day firing words at a blank page, trying to breathe life
into their dead weight. I surveyed my cache of notebooks, suddenly aware
my vision was useless to this man who gave life back to the dying.
It’s lovely to be able to look back on the year and go that was a great one. The publication of my second collection The Return of the Buffalo was a real highlight. I was lucky to do some great interviews about the book, including this one on Culture Northern Ireland. The relaunch and enhanced web presence of my publisher Lagan Press means you can view interviews and see me reading my poetry on You Tube.
Taking part in the Corners Expedition to the Basque Country with 25 international artists was an inspirational and life changing experience. My residency in the beautiful environs of An Creagan will stay with me for a long time. I was also lucky to be able to do many poetry readings, including in some unusual venues like the Arts Council’s MacNeice House and a funeral home!
My short film Two Little Boys was featured in the Belfast Film Festival. I was also commissioned for Terra Nova’s new theatre project Arrivals and I’m looking forward to the first reading of my play on 9th January.
My creative writing teaching has allowed me to meet many wonderful people. This year I’ve worked with the Belfast Book Festival, Artscare, the BBC, the WEA, Poetry in Motion, NI Libraries, Monaghan Libraries, Small Steps, Consensus and many schools.
Here’s to a great new year and everything it may bring.
I’d love to see you at the launch of my new poetry collection The Return of the Buffalo on Tuesday 24th September at 7pm in the First Presbyterian Church in Rosemary Street, Belfast. Everyone welcome. Maria McManus and Myra Vennard are also launching their new books on the night. Check out the invite above. You can read more about the book in my interview with Culture Northern Ireland.
Here’s what it says on the back cover:
Whether dealing with grief at the loss of a father, a devastating personal tragedy or the vicissitudes of married love, Deirdre Cartmill’s The Return of the Buffalo attempts to make sense of an often harsh and seemingly meaningless world.
Central to the collection is a poem regarding a visit to Alcatraz in San Francisco – the site of a Native American occupation in the 1960s. Struck by parallels to her own experiences, Cartmill finds hope and consolation in this meditation on the Native American myth that the birth of a white buffalo calf and the revival of the buffalo population will herald a new age.
Other poems in the collection echo and deepen this desire to begin again.
While refusing to shy away from painful realities, The Return of the Buffalo is ultimately about the possibility of redemption.
As part of the Belfast Book Festival 2013 I’m doing a Literary Lunchtimes reading at the Ulster Hall alongside fellow Lagan poets Jean Bleakney, Moyra Donaldson and Maria McManus. The event’s on Monday 10th June from 1-2pm and admission is free.
I’m also doing a Poetry in Motion workshop as part of the festival on Friday 14th June – more details to follow.
I’m doing a free workshop, reading and Q&A on Saturday 9th March in Armagh City Library, to celebrate International Women’s Day, alongside poets Denise Blake and Moyra Donaldson.
In the morning I’ll be doing a workshop for anyone who’s always wanted to write a poem but didn’t know how to start. We’ll be looking at how the 5 senses can inspire you. It will be a fun and easygoing session, so don’t let nerves put you off. Denise’s workshop will be on turning memories into poems and Moyra will be running a poetry masterclass.
In the afternoon the Meet The Poets event runs from 2-4pm. All three of us will read from our work and this will be followed by a Q&A. Hope to see you there.
On Halloween afternoon, twenty five poets and musicians are performing at The Moving Word – a free fringe event at the QFT as part of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s.
Poets include Paul Jeffcut, Ray Givans, Sonia Abercrombie, Paula Cunningham, Alex Wylie, Annemarie Mullan, Emma Must, Maria MacManus and many more. Musicians include Ben Maier, and Deirdre and Ciaran Carson. The event runs from 1-5pm so feel free to drop in and out as it suits you. I’ll be reading in the 3.15pm to 4pm slot and it would be lovely to see you there.
The Moving Word
Oct 31st, 2012
Venue: Queen’s Film Theatre Foyer, 20 University Square, Belfast BT7 1PA