Write To Be Heard

Audio anthology offers opportunity for poets

The New Belfast Community Arts Initiative, supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, are calling for poets, aspiring poets and the public to submit their work to be considered for inclusion in an audio anthology, entitled Write to be Heard!.

Following the international trend for performance poetry, the emphasis of this year’s programme is on the spoken word. By submitting poetry, poets are permitting NBCAI the right to publish poetry, if selected, although the individual copyright remains with the poets themselves.

Members of the general public should preferably submit recordings of their poems in their own voice (no longer than 1 minute). Those submitted in hard copy, if selected, will be read by a poet. Shareware recording software can be downloaded from the New Belfast website in order to create digital recordings that can be emailed to New Belfast.

Supporting the initiative, Edel Murphy, ACNI community arts officer said: 

'As the largest funder of NBCAI, the Arts Council is delighted that members of the public will be encouraged to submit their own poetry to this exciting project, as this will undoubtedly help more people become involved and enjoy the arts. 

'It’s great that local, professional poets are employed to help build this anthology, contributing to the powerful role that arts can play in society, helping people articulate important themes in everyday life.' 

The deadline for all submissions, to the poets or directly to NBCAI, is 5pm Monday August 18. A selection of poems will be published in an audio-anthology (CD with accompanying booklet) which will be widely available in Belfast and beyond.

Describing Write to be Heard!, Conor Shields, progamme director, said: 

'Every year New Belfast works with individuals and communities to promote new poetic voices. This year we are offering everyone from Belfast the opportunity to offer their poetry for selection, supporting a new audio-based collection of Belfast poetry. 

There are no themes, other than wanting to hear Belfast poems, written and performed by the residents of Belfast, in their own voices. We want to celebrate the character of our city through the people that live here.'

Five renowned locally-based poets are working across the city in performance poetry residencies – Jane Bailey in east Belfast, Jani Melia and Bob Rainey in north Belfast, Natasha Cuddington in west Belfast, and Ruth Carr in south Belfast. They are encouraging and facilitating the creation of poetry through a series of group workshops and are roaming the wider community looking for hidden talents. 

NBCAI is a community arts organisation committed to provide communities and individuals, real opportunities to engage with each other through the arts using film, photography, fashion, sculpture, textile art, poetry, creative writing, carnival arts, dance, drama, music, and mural making. 

Poets, aspiring poets and the public are invited to submit performances of their own work August 18, to be published on an audio anthology, either via email to submissions@newbelfastarts.org, or post to New Belfast Community Arts Initiative, Unit 4, Clanmil Arts & Business Centre, Bridge Street, Belfast BT1 1LU.