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 FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Drop by if you’re in that neck of the woods. Would love to see you!
“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.”
“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.”
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.”
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.
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.