"Sorry for your Troubles" (Canterbury Press, 2013)
Pádraig Ó Tuama’s new and powerful collection of poetry arises out of his work in reconciliation, enabling people to tell their stories of living through personal and political conflict in Northern Ireland – a period of conflict frequently referred to as ‘the Troubles’.
The expression ‘Sorry for your troubles’ is used all over Ireland. It comes from the Irish language where the word ‘troiblóid’ connotes ‘bereavements’. So the expression carries the greater weight of ‘Sorry for your bereavements’. With this in mind, this collection is an eloquent poetic witness to a time in which over 3000 people lost their lives and many more were left bearing the effects of such loss. It illustrates that alongside the grief and the enduring pain, indestructible things remain: tenacity, hope and courage.
Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet based in Belfast. He has worked with the Corrymeela Community, Cooperation Ireland and Mediation Northern Ireland using story and dialogue to help deepen reconciliation. He is a popular speaker at the Greenbelt and Solas festivals. He lectures and leads retreats throughout Ireland, the UK, the US and Australia.
I have a great admiration for poets, the works of Seamus Heaney, Patrick Kavanagh, Michael Longley and John Montague line my bookshelves. People, land, conflicts, life, love, death, hunger, reconciliation, equality, war, greed, law and loss all come under the poet’s microscope for analysis and outcomes. Pádraig's poem "Shaking Hands," challenges all of us on the hugely important matters of equality and leadership. Absent leadership there would have been no peace process in the North of Ireland,absent equality there can be no justice anywhere.Pádraig's latest work continues to challenge, provoke and advocate that a better world is not just possible but essential. Honesty, empathy, compassion are the hallmarks of this work from a poet who accepts that he too has a responsibility to help make the world a fairer and better place. Maith thú a Phádraig.
Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister, Stormont Assembly, June 2013 (from "Reflection on the poem 'Shaking Hands' ")
"Pádraig Ó Tuama is an extraordinary person, whose influence extends quietly and gracefully across the world. His poetry bears these same qualities and brings him close. It is a gift to us all."
Krista Tippett. Creator and host of 'On Being'.
"The power of words to wound is also the measure of their power to heal. Pádraig Ó Tuama writes powerful poetry from a place where both the wounds and the healing run deep. His keen eye for the small detail that becomes a healing symbol, his ear for the phrases and cadences of both communities and his ability to weave their phrases and stories, their troubles and recoveries together, produces poetry which speaks of both lamentation and love, embodies both truth and reconciliation."
Malcom Guite - poet, literary critic and author of Faith, Hope and Poetry
Lyrical, soulful, often achingly honest, Pádraig Ó Tuama's poetry always brings me home to myself with kindness and compassionate humour. Highly recommended for spiritual travellers in need of a tonic.
Nick Thorpe - journalist and author of 'Urban Worrier' and 'Adrift in Caledonia'
released December 8, 2013
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