Pádraig Ó Tuama’s second book of poetry Sorry for Your Troubles (Canterbury Press, 2013) will be launched at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast on Thursday 29 August, 6.30-8.00 pm. For those currently at Greenbelt, you can hear him read from the collection today at 4.30 pm.
Ó Tuama’s first collection, Readings from the Book of Exile (Canterbury Press, 2012) was well-received, and Sorry for Your Troubles promises to follow on from that.
Sorry for Your Troubles arises out of Ó Tuama’s work with the Corrymeela Community and Mediation Northern Ireland over a number of years.
It draws on the stories and experiences of those he has worked with, who have suffered as a result of violence, as well as his own experiences as a native of Cork (an ‘outsider’) living in Belfast.
Ó Tuama was interviewed about the book last week on BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence – you can listen by clicking here.
What comes through in the interview is Ó Tuama’s sensitivity to others’ experiences and a recognition that words are inherently limited when it comes to speaking about grief.
When asked about the title of the collection and whether the phrase ‘sorry for your troubles’ could be read as a trivializing of conflict, Ó Tuama explains that there is a deeper meaning from the Irish language beyond the expression, rooted in the word ‘troiblóid’ (bereavements),with the phrase carrying the connotation:
‘There is sadness upon me because of your bereavement.’
During the Sunday Sequence interview, Ó Tuama reads two poems from the collection, ‘Mixed Marriage’ and ‘The Pedagogy of Conflict.’ You can also hear him read a sample of poems from the book on his website.
I have a copy of the book and have started to work my way through it, and I can attest that what I have read and listened to so far is powerful indeed. (A review will follow on this blog.)
There’s something about the poetic that allows us to approach grief cautiously and reflectively, which can open us up to important healing and reconciliatory emotions like empathy. Ó Tuama’s words do this well.
If you have a chance to hear Ó Tuama read or to get your hands on the book, you won’t be disappointed.