Literary Programme 2017

Doireann Ní Ghríofa & Maggie Smith

Doireann Ní Ghríofa & Maggie Smith

Doireann Ní Ghríofa
Maggie Smith

Bantry Library

Tue 18 July 2017



This reading is in partnership with The Well Review a new biannual poetry and arts journal based in Sunday’s Well, Cork City. Issue One was published in February and featured work by Maram al-Masri, Ellen Bass, John Burnside, Matthew Dickman, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Nick Laird as well as Doireann Ní Ghríofa and Maggie Smith who will both read today. The Well Review also organises literary initiatives in the community such as readings and workshops. Issue Two will be published in September 2017. www.thewellreview.comDoireann Ní Ghríofa and Maggie Smith will be in conversation with Sarah Byrne, editor of The Well Review.

Doireann Ní Ghríofa will read from Oighear, her most recent Irish-language collection which was published earlier this year and Clasp, her first English-language collection which was published in 2015.

Clasp is divided into three sections entitled ‘Clasp’, ‘Cleave’, and ‘Clench’ and Ní Ghríofa engages in a strikingly physical way with the world of her subject matter. The result is by times what one poem calls ‘A History in Hearts’, among other things an intimate exploration of love, childbirth and motherhood, and simultaneously a place of separation and anxiety. In one poem set in the boys’ home in Letterfrack, a place of undeniable terror, we see how, in the name of religion, “The earth holds small skulls like seeds”. The final section of the book comprises a single poem, Seven Views of Cork City, which, swooping in and out of personal history, paints a convincing if sometimes unsettling portrait of the poet’s adopted city, and of urban life’s ubiquitous restraints on “our dream of speed”.

‘[Doireann] achieves the feat of making us look again at the usual and illuminating its pulsating strangeness. She is a brilliant addition to the distinguished succession of bilingual poets writing in Irish and English.’Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Ireland Professor of Poetry

‘There is a fearlessness in Ní Ghríofa’s work: in the subjects she turns her keen gaze on, but also in the very music she lets play in the lines. A deep intelligence informs the strategies and approaches in the poems, and a generosity of spirit and openheartedness are signal qualities.’Paula Meehan

Doireann Ní Ghríofa is a bilingual writer working both in Irish and English. Her writing explores domesticity, desire, and the multiplicity of women’s lives. Among her awards are the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Michael Hartnett Award and the Ireland Chair of Poetry bursary. She frequently participates in cross-disciplinary collaborations, fusing poetry with film, dance, music, and visual art; she is currently working on a major commission with Crash Ensemble under the Art Council of Ireland’s Making Great Art Work project. Doireann’s writing has appeared widely both in Ireland and internationally, and has been translated into many languages, most recently to French, Macedonian, Gujarati, and English. Her fourth book is Oighear (Coiscéim, 2017). She writes ‘with tenderness and unflinching curiosity’ (Poetry Magazine, Chicago).

Rugadh Doireann Ní Ghríofa i gContae na Gailimhe ach togadh i gContae Cláir í. Tá sí ina gconaí i gContae Corcaí faoi láthair. Tá máistir deánta aici i Litríocht Nua na Gaeilge i Ollscoil Corcaí. Tá a gcuid scriobnoireact foilsithe go for leathan in irisleabhair litríochta in Eireann agus irisleabhair iasachta. Sa bhlian 2012 bhuaigh a dán Fáinleoga an dhuais Wigtown do fhilíocht trí Ghaelinn. Tá sí tar eis sparánacht a fháil as Comhairle na hEalaine dhá uair (2011 agus 2013). Bhí a leabhar Clasp animnithe don dhuais Poetry Now leis an Irish Times agus bhuaigh sí an dhuais Michael Hartnett don leabhar ceanna. Is é Oighear a mbailiúcháin is nua, foilsithe ag Coisceim.

Doireann is also teaching our five-day Drawing Maps: Poetry for Beginners writing workshop from Monday 17 to Friday 21 July.

Maggie Smith is the author of three books of poetry: Weep Up (Tupelo Press, September 2017); The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015), winner of the Dorset Prize and the Individual 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal in Poetry; and Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award. She is also the author of three prizewinning pamphlets.

Maggie’s poems appear in The Best American Poetry, The Well Review, Magma, the Paris Review, Georgia Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, and many other journals and anthologies. In 2016 her poem Good Bones, originally published in Waxwing, went viral internationally and has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. The BBC/PRI called it ‘the official poem of 2016’.

The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Maggie is a freelance writer and editor.

‘Maggie Smith’s are poems of transformation: haunting, gorgeous, intimately unsettling. I cannot remember when I last read a book to match her powers of delight.’Linda Gregerson

‘[Maggie’s] images are so fresh and inventive they shimmer. Original, cautionary, rich, delicious, The Well Speaks is a spellbinding collection.’Amy Gerstler

You may read more about Maggie and her poem Good Bones

Doireann’s photo is by Bríd O'Donovan and Maggie’s photo is by Studio127 Photography

Maggie Smith’s participation in the festival is supported by Cork County Council’s Arts Grants Scheme Award.