PEACE IV Project Poem shortlisted for Best Poem in Ireland Award

Wednesday 3rd November 2021

A poem written to accompany the PEACE IV “Art in tHe Heart” project, has been shortlistedfor the Best Poem in Ireland Anpost Irish book awards 2021

A group of people gather at a white stone and mosaic bench seat.

In October 2020, six sculptural seats were installed in the villages of Donaghadee, Millisle, Ballywalter, Portaferry, Kircubbin and Greyabbey as part of an artistic Community Based Art programme, ”Art in the Heart“.

More than 100 local participants had worked on the programme with the Institute for Conflict Research, supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) that focusses on shared identity, peace and reconciliation. Pictured is the seat located at Portaferry with some of the project participants.

This community collaboration with artists, poets and musicians resulted in the creation of the six sculptural seats made out of cast stone and glazed tile mosaics.  Some of the finest authors working in Northern Ireland captured the area’s social history.  Their writing accompanies the sculptures, with a link through a QR code allowing residents and visitors to the Peninsula to also source a soundscape: it includes the authors’ reading their work and was created, in partnership with the Royal Society of the Protection of Birds, by students at the QUB Sonic Arts Centre.

Siobhan Campbell’s poem ‘Longboat at Portaferry’ that accompanies the bench in Portaferry is one of five - out of hundreds of entries - that has been shortlisted for the Best Poem in Ireland Anpost Irish book awards 2021. Fine out more about the poet at HOME | poet (siobhancampbell.com)

The public can cast their votes online for the best books of the year at anpostirishbookawards.ie before 5pm on November 15th. A one-hour special will be broadcast on RTÉ One on 8 December 2021, exploring the books and authors shortlisted for the An Post Irish Book Awards Book of the Year 2021, culminating in the reveal of this year’s overall winner.

Vote - Irish Book Awards

Longboat at Portaferry – by Siobhan Campbell

At the mouth of the Lough, I approach by the narrows
from fast-running tides to the place of strong currents.

I have bided my time, observing the flux,
the seals and the plover beside me beguiled.

I am still in my heart in search of safe harbour –
the wide shallow basin I’ve heard called a haven.

Like the waders and geese, I come back each season,
a to-ing and fro-ing since nature began.

I can see us some springtime, both new-come and native,
bathed in the light of a ferry at sunrise

when the eelgrass and thrift, the aster and thyme
are budding and thriving in warmth re-arriving,

and along all the narrows are sponges and corals –
a riot of colour remembering to bloom.