Date & Time: Wednesday May 29th. Performance at 7pm. Tickets €5 on the door
Cherry Smyth is an Irish poet, novelist, art critic and curator. Born in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, she now teaches poetry in the Creative Writing Department of Greenwich University. Her first poetry collection When the Lights Go Up was published by Lagan Press in 2001. In 2003, her anthology of women prisoners' writing, A Strong Voice in a Small Space, won the Raymond Williams Community Publishing award.
Her second poetry collection, One Wanted Thing, was published in 2006, also by Lagan Press.The Irish Times wrote the following review of the collection: ‘Here is clarity and realism, couched in language that is accessible and inventive. The title poem carries all Smyth's hallmarks: precision, linguistic inventiveness and joy.’
Smyth will perform her new poetic piece 'Famished' exploring the Irish famine and the role of colonialism in the cataslymic event which killed at least one million people and forced another million to emigrate. The poem is inspired by the current migrant crisis, in which migrants cross dangerous seas to reach safety. The current crisis also evokes the 'coffin ships' which crossed the Atlantic during the Irish Famine. Smyth collaborates with composer Ed Bennett and vocalist Lauren Kinsella for the performance. She uses the idea of collective lament as a means of expressing ancestral trauma. The piece weaves together traditional lyric, imagined voices from the 1840s, historical facts, nursery rhymes autobiography and lists to form a multilayered and dynamic piece. The long poem is also the first of its kind to examine the role of women in the Irish Famine.
The poem is touring the UK and Ireland in 2019.