Connie Roberts Poet

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Boston College Reading

Irish Writers Series Boston College
Looking forward to reading at Boston College on March 21, and to visiting Prof. Jim Smith’s READING IRISH CHILDHOOD class. (I’m honored and humbled to have my poetry collection LITTLE WITNESS on the syllabus.)
March 21, 4:30 PM, Connolly House, Boston College
Drop by if you’re in that neck of the woods. Would love to see you!

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Thrilled with this review of Little Witness in the Dublin Review of Books: Suffer Little Children, October 1st, 2016

“Witness poetry has always been associated with the articulation of extreme experiences of events like war, dictatorial regimes or political persecution. In 1983, the poet Czesław Miłosz wrote that, due to the “extraordinary and lethal events” that occurred in eastern Europe in the twentieth century, people from that part of the world “tend to view [poetry] as a witness and participant in one of mankind’s major transformations”. But Connie Roberts’s aptly named debut collection of poetry, Little Witness, alerts us to the fact that in Ireland, “lethal events” also took place within the private sphere, that barbarism occurred in people’s homes and in institutional settings.”
Read the complete review here.

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Interview with the Tullamore Tribune



Here’s an interview with the Tullamore Tribune following my Exceptional Offaly Person of the Year 2016 Award:  Harrowing Childhood Of Exceptional Offaly Person Award Recipient, Thursday, October 6, 2016.

“Home is a place where you feel safe and secure, a refuge from the chaos. Home is a stake you put in the ground at nine years old and declare, this is where I’m going to flourish, and nobody is going to take it from me.”

Click here to read the interview.


Recent News

Irish Central Review of Little Witness.
Emmanuel Touhey does it again: Here’s another review he wrote for Irish Central: “An Irish poet in America recalls the dark secrets of her youth”

Exceptional Offaly Person of the Year 2016: Connie Roberts
I’m thrilled to announce the wonderful news that the Executive Committee of the Tullamore Show has selected me as the Exceptional Offaly Person of the Year 2016. I will be presented with the award at the Tullamore Show on August 14th.

Irish Times Review: “Connie Roberts, a poetic witness who will not be silenced”
Powerful review from Emmanuel Touhey:
“It is a haunting and harrowing accounting of a beleaguered young life. These poems are not for the faint of heart. They will grab you when you want to look the other way.”

Notre Dame University Irish Studies Journal Breac Review: “A call to bear witness, brazen”
A great review from Brian F. McCabe:
“A dark and entirely moving work, Little Witness emerges from a history Ireland might prefer to forget, one of Magdalen laundries, poorhouses, and in which the buried children, like those of Tuam, continue to cry out for an advocate. Roberts fills this role, as she writes in one poem, with blazing truth.”

RTE Radio One Poetry Programme: Connie Roberts, Catriona O’Reilly & Peter Duffy
Rick O’Shea interviews me for the Poetry Programme. Great chat about Seamus Heaney, Mary Raftery and Peter Tyrrell.

Irish Times Review of Little Witness
John McAuliffe reviews Little Witness and Medbh McGuckian’s Blaris Moor.

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2016 Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship Award

2016 is off to a great start, between the Shine/Strong Award shortlisting and now this bit of wonderful news: The trustees of the estate of Katherine Kavanagh have awarded me a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship Award worth 8,000 euros.

Fellow recipients include Nell Regan, Fred Johnston, Nicholas McLachlan and Dairena Ní Chinnéide. The awards are made in recognition of a number of factors, balancing the criteria of need, commitment to the literary life, achievement so far and promise for the future.

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The Shine/Strong Poetry Award

I am thrilled with the news that Little Witness has been shortlisted for the Shine/Strong Poetry Award. The Shine/Strong Poetry Award is presented annually to the author of the best first collection of poems published in English or Irish by an Irish poet in the previous year. Recent winners of the Award include Caoilinn Hughes, Tara Bergin, Michelle O’Sullivan, Grace Wells and Peadar Ó hUallaigh. This year’s award is judged by Kevin Barry and the recipient will receive €1,000. The award will be announced on Sunday 13th March 2016 at the Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival, Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin.

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Little Witness Book Launch, The Cell Theatre, NYC, July 12, 2015

Little Witness had a rousing launch at the Listowel Writers’ Week Festival on May 29th, hosted by the inimitable Billy Keane.  The poet Matt Mooney launched his collection Earth to Earth alongside me. It was a very special day. My first book launch.  I made a wish.

My New York launch was held at The Cell Theatre in NYC, on July 12th. Hosted by Artists Without Walls co-founders, Charles R. Hale and Niamh Hyland, this was another day I’ll not soon forget. Charles emceed; Niamh, with that amazing voice of hers, sang. Fellow AWoW members Annette Homann (violinist), Liv Mammone (poet) and I.S. Jones (poet) showcased their respective talents. The theatre was packed to the rafters. A fabulous afternoon of music, poetry and song.  And laughter. And wine. The highlight for me was my 11-year-old son, Aedan, reading one of my poems, “Maisie’s Farm”. I am so proud of my little man.

Click here to view photos from the launch.


The Bogman’s Cannon

Delighted and honored to have a poem from my book Little Witness published on Irish poet Dave Lordan‘s website, the Bogman’s Cannon.

“Inheritance” is an eight-part poem about the 1943 Poor Clare orphanage fire in Cavan in which 35 children and one old woman perished.

Dave has truly been shaking things up in the Irish poetry scene for years now – a brilliant and exciting performer of his own work, as you will see from his YouTube video.

Lost Tribe of The Wicklow Mountains, Dave’s third collection is available from Salmon Poetry, web retailers, and from all good bookshops.

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Permutations, Transformation and AWoW: A Review of Artists Without Walls’ Premier Gallery Series, featuring Kathleen Bennett Bastis’ Solo Exhibition Permutations

by Connie Roberts

In this week’s New York Times Style Magazine there is a piece about the 78-year-old experimental performance artist Joan Jonas, who lives in a loft in SoHo and who, since the late-60s, has been practicing her own unique art form: “Jonas has pursued a category-defying, perpetually exploratory practice that melds performance, drawing, film, video, sculpture, installation, sound and literature.” Jonas is a woman not constrained by any discipline. She would have fit in well with the sisterhood of artists—visual, performance, and musical—at the Artists Without Walls: Gallery Series, featuring Kathleen Bennett Bastis’ Permutations at the First Street Gallery, NYC this past Friday night. Mixed media artist Kathleen Bennett Bastis, singer-songwriter Martina Fišerova, violinist Annette Homann and performance artist Allison Sylvia, like Jonas, do not fit neatly into a pre-packaged brand: all are difficult—in the best way possible—to pin down. The aptly named exhibition Permutations served them all well. There was alteration and transformation in spades on the night! [click here for the complete article]