Well I've had to keep this top secret for a few months now, but tonight I got to read my poem for Senator George Mitchell, at an Awards Dinner in his honour at La Mon Hotel in Castlereagh.
The poem was commissioned by Arts Council of Northern Ireland and CO3, the leadership organisation for the Third Sector.
It was a true privilege to be able to recognise and commemorate in verse Senator Mitchell's great contribution to our wee country, and the personal efforts and sacrifices he made in chairing the peace talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement. It was also a thrill to get to shake Senator Mitchell's hand on stage and thank him personally.
Many thanks to Nora Smith at CO3 and Damian Smyth at ACNI for creating the commission, and to Dawn Purvis and Baroness May Blood for sharing their reflections and memories for my research.
The poem is available to read on the CO3 website.
I'll be facilitating a workshop, and reading alongside the legendary Dan Eggs, as part of Deep Down's Lived Experience Arts Festival on Saturday 18th May, in the Ivy Bar, Newtownards.
To book a ticket for either event, email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a place, and then pay on the day.
Creative Writing Workshop, 2.30-4.30pm, £5
Come and join award-winning poet Colin Dardis in an introduction to writing poetry. Colin will show some basic techniques as well as teaching how to avoid common errors. This event is relaxed and open to anyone who wants to give writing poetry a try.
Reading and Open Mic, 5-7pm £5
Dan Eggs was born in Ballymoney, County Antrim and has been writing poetry since the age of four. After graduating from Trinity College, Dublin, he began a career in writing recording and performing which has spanned some three and a half decades. Known as an early pioneer in the Irish spoken word scene, Dan came to prominence through a number of beloved readings in Belfast festivals and self-released albums of his work, as well as the anthology Magnetic North (Verbal Arts Centre, 2006). In 2017, he received a SIAP grant from Arts Council Northern Ireland. A poetry collection, 'Big 99', is available through Lagan Press
Colin Dardis is a poet, editor, and arts coordinator from Northern Ireland. He co-runs Poetry NI, a multimedia platform for poets. His debut collection, 'the x of y', was released in 2018 from Eyewear. A new collection, 'The Dogs of Humanity', is forthcoming in 2019. Colin's work has been published widely throughout Ireland, the UK and USA. His poetry has been listed in the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing, Over The Edge New Writer of the Year Award, and the Dermot Healy International Poetry Competition, amongst others.
After the reading, there will be an opportunity for people to have a go at reading poetry to a kind and supportive audience, with the floor open to others. The event will also be open to those who just want to listen!