On the Poetry program Sunday May 8 at 7 p.m. on RTÉ Radio 1, presenter Olivia O’Leary meets three poets in Belfast to discuss the strength of queer poetry in Northern Ireland today.
The queer voice in poetry is vibrant here, like a recent anthology, queer the green, showed. The anthology, edited by poet Paul Maddern, focuses on poetry from this millennium and includes 32 Northern Irish poets who identify as queer. Three of them join Olivia in the studio this week.
Gail McConnell, from Belfast, is the author of two poetry pamphlets, mother-mother and Fourteenand a poetry book titled The sun is openwhich deals with the murder of her father, Deputy Governor of Maze Prison, in 1984. She is also a lecturer in English at Queen’s University. The sun is open recently won the 2022 John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize.
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Padraig Regan’s first collection, some integritywon the 2021 Clarissa Luard Prize, and they have also written two poetry pamphlets, Delicious and who seemed alive and quite real. From Belfast they were Ciaran Carson Writing in the City Fellow last year.
Mícheál McCann, originally from Derry, wrote a booklet of poems, safe house, and his poems have appeared in a number of journals. He is co-editor of hold the door openan anthology exploring Irish poetry and mentoring.
The poets discuss the idea of queerizing language and what it means to invent a new language around contemporary queer reality such as parenthood. They talk about the traditional range of poetry, from lyrical to villanelle, and where they see their own voices and bodies accessing it. How does queer voice and vision work with rural themes? And, in a broadcast recorded before the recent deaths of Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee in Sligo, the poets discuss the constant thin line between tolerance and violence.
The program ends with a reading by Olesya Zdorovetska of one of Ukraine’s best-known poems, Against Spero!by Lesya Ukrainka.
The poetry programSundays at 7pm on RTÉ Radio 1 – listen to last week’s edition below:
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