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.
I’m really looking forward to reading at the Poetry NI Summer Reading at the Crescent Arts Centre on 27th August.
I’ll be reading alongside a great mix of established names and exciting new voices – Maria McManus, Chris Agee, Ruth Carr, Kelly Creighton, Matt Kirkham, Geraldine O’Kane and Lynda Tavakoli. The night will be hosted by Colin Dardis and starts at 7.30pm.
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.
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.
I’m looking forward to two upcoming poetry readings. On National Poetry Day, 4th October, I’ll be reading at an event to celebrate the opening of Dromore Library, Co Down, from 2-3pm.
Before that on Saturday 29th October I’ll be reading a couple of poems as part of the 100,000 Poets For Change event in Bookfinders Café, Belfast. The evening starts at 6pm and will also feature readings from Moyra Donaldson, Kevin Kiely, Chelly McLear, Annemarie Mullan, Monica Rafferty and Shelley Tracey. There will be coffee on sale but feel free to bring along a bottle of wine – well it is Saturday night.
I’m reading at Down Arts Centre in Downpatrick this Sunday 29th April as part of Write! Down’s Poems for a Sunday Afternoon series. The event runs from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. There’s an open mic after the reading, so anyone who feels like sharing a poem they’ve written or reading a favourite poem is most welcome. Tern TV will be filming part of the event. Admission is free.
I’m leading a poetry workshop in the Ulster Hall on International Women’s Day on 8th March from 2.30pm-4.30pm. It’s aimed at anyone who’s always wanted to write a poem but didn’t know how to start. In this fun and easy going session, you’ll use the five senses to write a poem as a group and you’ll go home with a tried and tested technique for writing your own poem. Admission is free.
I’ll also be reading some of my poetry as part of the lunchtime session from 1-2pm, alongside another female poet and some musicians. It’s part of a day long event at the Ulster Hall.