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It is too simple
To say I miss you.
If there were a language
That could not say ‘leave’
And had no word for ‘stay’
That would be the tongue
For this strange country.

From Strange Country, by Seamus Deane

We are delighted to welcome the return of the Poetry Jukebox to our building. In the spirit of internationalism, cross-border collaboration and a commitment to our citizens and diaspora, we join an exciting range of partners celebrating some of our richest shared cultural heritage: literature.

The new poetry collection in the Poetry Jukebox is No Word for ‘Stay’. This selection of poems by poets from the north of Ireland who have lived experience of The Troubles, resonate with the language of loss, grief and remembrance, but also with optimism. 

There is a total of twenty wonderful poets and all of the poems are recorded in the poet’s own voices. The audio installation features poems in Irish, English and Spanish from some of Ireland’s most accomplished writers.

The poets featured are Jean Bleakney, Colette Bryce, Ciarán Carson, Gerald Dawe, Celia de Fréine, Damian Smyth, Moyra Donaldson, Padraig Fiacc, Leontia Flynn, Alan Gillis, Dennis Grieg, Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, Gail McConnell, Paul Muldoon, Joan Newmann, Kate Newmann, Frank Ormsby and Lorna Shaughnessy.

Poignantly it also includes Derek Mahon’s wonderful poem, Everything Is Going To Be All Right as well as the momentous poem Ceasefire, by Michael Longley.

You can also listen to the poetry jukebox through their website.

Poet and artistic director Maria McManus said, ‘These are momentous and tumultuous times, socially, politically and artistically. Our poets invite the listener to pause, to take a moment to reflect and to connect with the self. The poems reflect inwards on the past, but the words speak to the present from our darkest days into the light.’

In addition to visiting the jukebox and listening to the poems online, you can also enjoy a discussion panel event, featuring Professor Cliona Ní Riordáin (Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris), in conversation with poets Paul Muldoon, Moyra Donaldson and Gail McConnell, broadcast via Belfast International Festival and Centre Culturel Irlandais on YouTube here:

The panel discussion was introduced by artistic director, poet and poetry jukebox co-curator Maria McManus and chaired by Clíona Ní Ríordáin, Professor of Irish Poetry at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris. Joining her was poet and co-curator Moyra Donaldson along with poets Gail McConnell and Paul Muldoon to discuss the contribution of Northern Irish poetry and poets in articulating Northern Ireland’s painful, complex, and compelling history, its resonance in the present, and its implications for our future.

‘This sonic curation of poems, each read by its creator, has huge impact. However, it is not a collection of reassuring words. The curation plunges us back into the terrible moments of “The Troubles;” each word matters, calling out and using the art of poetry to make us think… I remembered that Shelley in 1821 stated, ‘poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world,’ and realised no matter how hard times are, we can’t reduce our poets’ words to merely being conduits of succour and salve’.   [Patricia Killeen for IrishCentral]

The Poetry Jukebox at EPIC is presented with Belfast International Arts Festival, Centre Culturel Irlandais (Paris), Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Poetry Ireland.

Installations will be located at:

  • EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, Dublin from 17 October to 31 December 2020
  • Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast from 17 October to 31 December 2020
  • Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris from 4 January to 21 March 2021

STAY SAFE #Covid19

  • Please follow COVID-19 Safety Guidance available on the jukeboxes, using a key or a pen as a proxy to press the button or
  • Go hand’s free and scan the handy QR codes to listen via your mobile device

Follow @PoetryJukebox – Spread the words, not the virus!