Save the Date: #KnowingtheDance Premiere at @Down_arts Centre (9 Sept)


Knowing the Dance‘ Premiere

Inspired by WB Yeats’ famous question ‘How can we know the dancer from the dance?’, this performance of a thought-provoking sequence of dance~poems is created and performed by poet Olive Broderick and dancer Paula Guzzanti, joined by musician Martin Devek. The performance is a showcase of how dance and poetry can inhabit a shared creative space while honouring the individual practices of poet and choreographer. Introduced by Damian Smyth (Head of Literature & Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland), the performance will be followed by a Q&A session.

‘Knowing the Dance’ is supported by the Arts Council NI through the ACES Scheme, and Down Arts Centre.

Date: Saturday, 9 September

Venue: Down Arts Centre, 2-6 Irish Street, Downpatrick, BT30 6BP

Time: 7-8.30pm

Price: £5 (ticket booking available from August on 028 4461 0747)

Please note that the performance will be preceded by a workshop 2 hour (3.15-6.15m) ‘Knowing the Dance’ masterclass. More information to follow.

Artists’ websites

Landing Places @CrescentArts (29 July, 8pm) – #saveheaneycountry #A6winwinsolution


Come join #SaveHeaneyCountry for a beautiful Heaney-themed evening celebrating our natural & cultural heritage

Poet, playwright and photographer Maria McManus is spearheading the gathering of poets, spoken word artists and musicians for this fundraiser at the Crescent Arts Centre. (BOOK HERE).

Lough Beg

The strand at Lough Beg, one of the most epic, serene landscapes in Ireland, and practically hidden from view, is one of the last great undisturbed wetlands in Ireland. Alive with some of the rarest species of plants and birds in Europe, archaeologists tell us that the now endangered whooper swan has come to Lough Beg from Iceland for 80,000 years…to overwinter and to breed.

This is the landscape that nourished, obsessed and inspired perhaps the greatest literary figure of the twentieth century, Seamus Heaney.  However, landscape in which the thematic triumphs of Nobel Prize winning literature are located: Mossbawn, Anahorish, Lagan’s Road, The Broagh, Creagh, places immortalized by Heaney, now face the prospect of 22,000 vehicles per day, motorway bridges & further development.

Now more than ever we need to protect our last few wild places and our cultural heritage.

The protection of Lough Beg & a creative solution to the rerouting of the A6

Judges will make a final decision on the fate of Lough Beg on 11th August 2017.  One couple have fought this in a David & Goliath battle and they need your financial and moral support. This is your chance to help them save Lough Beg and protect it for future generations. #SaveHeaneyCountry are fully in support of better road infrastructure for ‘west of the Bann’ but feel that with thought and creativity a win-win solution can be found to reroute this small 4mile section away from this precious habitat and with the recently built Homeplace Centre the value of this special landscape can truly be realised.

We hope you can make it on the night but, if not, do consider donating to the campaign clicking here.

Mound of Down Minotaur – #lettersfromladyn

The mound, we could say, exists in its mounding. This is to think of it not as a finished object, standing on foundations and set over and against its surroundings, but as a locus of growth and regeneration where materials welling up from the earth mix and mingle with the fluxes of the weather in the ongoing production of life. The mound has not turned its back on us, as we might suppose, hiding secrets within its dark, enclosed interior that we can discover only by tunnelling in. On the contrary, it is open to the world. As the ever-emergent outcome of the interplay of cosmic forces and vital materials, the mound is not bulit but grows.

extract from chapter ‘Round mound and earth sky’ from ‘Making‘ by Tim Ingold

MoundofDownPerduranceFor various reasons, I am not doing my usual round of the Mound of Down today, despite the weather being glorious here. Instead, I am considering it as an anthropological proposition. I might have overstated the case when I said that Tim Ingold had covered all of my favourite things in his ‘Life of Lines’ volume in an earlier post.

It seems that my current fascination with anthropology á la Prof Ingold continues with an earlier book – Making‘. I had been slow to read this because of the title (it doesn’t mention lines or being alive) but, in fact it is the backdrop to the ‘Knowing from the Inside‘ work. But more importantly there is a significant part of a chapter on…MOUNDS.

Of course, the Mound of Down is not specifically mentioned – but it is, to be fair, a poster child for perdurance – and of not coughing up much in the way of archaelogically sound information about what the hell it was/is actually all about.

And, of course, it is always work-in-progress. Yes, like it’s brackets – the Down Cathedral and Inch Abbey – it is a little bit fixed in place by our attempts at preservation. But, unlike both edifices, it is a growing thing. How strange it would be if we found that the Cathedral had an extra layer of bricks that nobody could account for in the time between they were and weren’t there. But it would be much stranger if we came back to the Mound – even after a short absence – and found that it was absolutely the same as we left it.

I wrote the below a couple of months ago. I think it will have been May because of mention of burning gorse.  Speedwell (veronica) appeared in the burnt places quite quickly. I also notice – this is in general – that the Mound of Down tends to spit people out. I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had about how it should be a big tourist attraction in the town but I always get the sense that the Mound is not over welcoming –  siphoning walkers off by a new gate this season.

It is, I am sure, labyrinthine in its history. It has to be, whether abandoned stronghold or other lost earthworks, because it has centuries of all things of this local world tamping it down, shaping it, mounding it. I’m always surprised – perhaps I’ve said this before – that it’s never assoicated with those that are rumoured to live in mounds.

Mound of Down Minotaur

Everything moves in circles here.

Ariadne keeps count of the turns
with different coloured threads.

Growing by burned gorse
blue veronica. Orange tips

and their black-lace ladies fly
above unconcerned. Who knows

what moves below the surface
of these ancient earthworks.

People come here once, then
don’t come back. Mean to,

ought to, but somehow
don’t make the journey.

Except Theseus who wants
it to be a tourist destination.

He needs it clear of menace –
means to get to the bottom of it.

He beats back the overgrown paths,
but they are moats and lead back

to their openings:
first a small descent,

then spit him out,
and he must start again.

#12NOW (part 2), @WomenAloudNI & @TemplarPoetry Launches at @BelfastBookFest

Belfast Book Festival – what an extended fortune of literary talent, both from here and incoming! Big congratulations to Keith Acheson and all at Crescent Arts Centre for the programme.

Life conspired to keep me at a distance last week but from Thursday of this week, I am in full festival mode! Too many good things but I’ll do what I can. Find the full programme HERE.

I’m delighted to let you know about three events that I’ll be reading as part of:

Thurs – 15 June, 6.30pm @Cresent Arts Centre

Lagan Online presents 12Now: New Original Writers Night 2: I’ll be in the company of  lovely current 12Now-ers Peter Adair, Patricia Devlin-Hill, Paul Doran, David Mitchell and Claire Savage.  A mix of poetry and fiction – and exciting voices. I understand Night 1 was great – so we look forward to continuing in the same spirit. (£4 – book online HERE)

Saturday – 17 June, 2-4pm @Crescent Arts Centre

Women Aloud NI Readathon and Mass Simultaneous Reading: The mighty and growing collective of wonderful women writers ‘Women Aloud NI’ are in full session on Saturday afternoon – with the trademark rapid-fire reading and simultaneous reading. It’s a great way of getting a glimpse of a wide range of writers in a range of genres. (£6/£4 – book online HERE)

Saturday – 17 June, 5pm @Crescent Arts Centre

Templar Poets: The day is fast approaching. A lovely rematch to be launching with Paul Maddern who is showcasing his eagerly awaited latest publication ‘Pilgrimage’ – a complete privilege to be reading with him. I can’t wait to hear the new work! I’m still finding it hard to believe that ‘Night Divers’ is actually really out there. So thrilled to be launching it as part of the Belfast Book Festival.  (FREE – book online HERE). Copies of Night Divers will be available at the launch or available online now at Templar Poetry

Enjoy the Festival – and hope to catch up one way or another!

Words for Castle Ward Events @NTCastleWard #BookFair this weekend.


These are challenging times – and all I can offer by way of comfort is guilt-free shopping therapy for book-lovers. Castle Ward’s wonderful new-to-you annual Book Fair happens this weekend. As always there are books for every age, stage and taste. People tend to bring their own boxes. Donations and proceeds go to supporting conservation at the Natioanl Trust’s Castle Ward property. Events are free but normal NT admission charges apply. Bring the family – as there are activities for children on the general programme as well.

Words for Castle Ward Events

10 June

10.30-12.00: New writing workshop on the theme ‘Open Book’. Free to attend. This workshop for adults will suit all – from beginners to experienced writers – and all writing genres. Expect to come away with some new writing! Venue: Education Suite

12.15-12.45: Impromptu reading in the Stableyard Cafe. Back by popular demand, Words for Castle Ward writers share some work at the Cafe. Enjoy lunch or a coffee and creative written work. Venue: Stableyard Cafe

15.00-16.00: Launches of new works by Castle Ward authors. Join Malcolm Kidd, Terry Hickland and Olive Broderick as they launch new novels and a volume of poetry. With an introduction and readings. Books will be available to purchase on the day*, with some refreshments. Venue: Lord Bangor’s Sitting Room, Castle Ward.

All are free to attend, do let me (Olive Broderick) know if you will be attending the workshop at


*Except ‘Night Divers’ which is available online HERE and will be available at the Belfast Book Festival launch on the 17 June.

Hint of the Sea in the Breeze at Steamboat Quay – @NIScreen #DigitalArchive


Delighted to share this piece in celebration of Northern Ireland’s beautiful coast and NI Screen’s inspiring digital archive. It was a privilege to be involved.

There are two short films:

(1) ‘Hint of the Sea in the Breeze at Steamboat Quay – short film incorporating footage from the archive and spoken piece.

Link to short film

(2) Short interview with me about how the written piece was inspired by the archive and the relevance of Steamboat Quay to the piece.

Link to interview

(3) There was two short films created. Find the wonderful ‘Coast to Coast’ piece created with words by poet Ross Thompson – short film HERE & Interview HERE.

Hint of the Sea in the Breeze at Steamboat Quay Credits

The list of credits are below but I wanted to say a word of apprecation to Francis Jones of the Archive for organising this, to Dáithí McGibbon for the music – I think the very final part is just inspired – and to Simon and Lorna of TACA for getting under the material to create such resonant short films.

Produced, Directed and Edited by TACA

Words by Olive Broderick

Music composed by Dáithí McGibbon

Audio recording courtesy of Peter Carson, NMNI.

Filmed at the Ulster Folk & Transport Musuem.

Created as part of the BFI’s Britain on Film project 

Poems on a Sunday Afteroon feat. Lynda E Tavakoli – #DownArtsCentre #Downpatrick

It’s been a month of focus on things poetic, in particular, and literary in all of its genres as well. So it’s really good to be rounding up the month with Down Arts Centre & Words for Castle Ward’s very popular Poems on a Sunday afternoon (30 April, 2.30-4.30pm) event.

As always we are inviting new writers, or writers with new material, or you who may have a poem, story, song of your own, or a favourite, to share. It’s a friendly space to read – and we love to hear new voices, and welcome back those who are familiar. By the way, if you just want to come and enjoy the afternoon – you are also most welcome!

Featured Reading: Lynda E Tavakoli

LyndaETavakoliPoSAUnderaColdwhiteMoonDelighted this time to present Lynda E. Tavakoli in the featured spot – and her reading will centre on her recently launched debut collection of short stories. We have been fortunate to have Lynda as a contributor to PoSA’s shared space over the years – as well as members of the wonderful Lisburn creative writing group she facilitates.  It seemed high time to to hear the breath of her work – she is an award winning author and has published two novels (‘Attachement’ and ‘Of Broken Things’), Her poetry and prose have been broadcast on both BBC Radio Ulster and RTE Sunday Miscellany.

Her literary successes include poetry and short story prizes at Listowel, the Mencap short story competition and the Mail on Sunday novel competition. Lynda’s poems have been included in a variety of publications including Templar Poets’ Anthology Skein, Abridged (Absence/Magnolia/Silence/Primal/Mara), The Incubator Journal, Panning for Poems, Circle and Square, North West Words, Four X Four (Poetry NI), The Honest Ulsterman, A New Ulster and Corncrake magazine. She has been selected as The Irish Times Hennessy poet of the month for her poems about dementia, a recurring theme in much of her poetry. Having recently returned from Bahrain where her poems were featured in the local press, she is presently working towards her first collection revolving around her early childhood in 1960’s Northern Ireland. Lynda has facilitated prose recitals commemorating the anniversary of the sinking of The Titanic and edited the prose and poetry anthology ‘Linen’ for the Irish Linen Museum.

The reading on Sunday will celebrate the publication of ‘Under a Cold White Moon’ her first collection of short stories – inspiring, often dark, and soulfully told; and her poetry.

About Poems on a Sunday Afternoon

This is a c. quarterly event that has been running for over 5 years and is a showcase of, and platform for, work by those writing locally, and beyond. It is an initative of Down Arts Centre and, currently, Words for Castle Ward. The next session is on next Sunday, 30 April, 2.30-4.30pm at Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick. The event is free to attend and doesn’t need to be booked in advance.  Find out more about Poems on a Sunday Afternoon HERE.