Enabling the language of reconciliation through poetry

Regular Sluggerites will no doubt be familiar with Dave Wood, poet and wordsmith. In 2004 there was an attempt to provide a poet in residence here on the site, but that effort was hampered by server problems at the time. Dave worked with community theatre co-operative, Word And Action (Dorset) Ltd. and travelled throughout Northern Ireland from 1988 to 1998. His interest and work lay in ‘helping groups build stories and act them through to completion in a central space’.

Dave is back in Northern Ireland and has been working with the Cnocnafeola community project in Atticall. The dynamic organiser behind Cnocnafeola is Mairead White, and she and her group invited Dave over to facilitate a Creative Peace Project in Atticall.

He’s been out and about since Friday, talking to people and capturing feelings and expressions on the subject of reconciliation and peace. Mairead had been at the Challenge of Change conference in Newry last month, and was enthused about ideas of using small but concrete steps to move in the direction of peace and mutual understanding. Indeed, I was invited to the Civic Reception for the conference in Belfast last month and found the key speaker, John Paul Lederach to be breathtakingly inspirational.

I had the great privilege of being out with Dave on a couple of occasions over the weekend and will bring you a little of the poetry on the next instalment. Dave returns to Ireland and Atticall in September to launch a book containing all of the poetry constructed through the project, a concrete expression catching the mood and feeling of the people at this moment in time.

For those who aren’t familiar with Atticall, its in the Mournes. What can I tell you, it all happens down here in South Down!

  • I love some of Dave’s poetry…

    As I sat here watching paint dry…
    It spat in the ball of my eye,
    so I spat right back,
    discovered a crack.
    Now it’s plaster I’m watching – ohh whyyyyy?

    Dave Wood

    source – http://shittyfirstdraft.blogspot.com/2006/03/thought-for-tday.html

  • MissFitz: What can I tell you, it all happens down here in South Down!

    So true.

    THe Benedictine Congregation of St. Mary of Monte-Oliveto, based in Rostrevor, are making great strides. Handy little earner.

  • Wouldn’t it just be easier to collect the dole?

  • Miss Fitz

    Before I delete your comment, can I ask to whom you are referring?

  • Rory

    I assume Karl Rove is referring to the poet, Dave Wood, Miss Fitz. And I take it his remarks are motivated by the philistine meaness of the true monetarist who is fundementally opposed to any state subsidy of art. Unless of course it is that which benefits the already very rich like the Royal Opera House or the purchase of artefacts fom the houses of the aristocracy for megamillions “for the nation” which these same aristocrats then retain in their stately homes (also state subsidised) on the pretence that the public may view them on one day a year.

    The idea that the masses have any access to art which encourages their finer sensibilities gives them the shudders. Better to keep them dull and unthinking, all the better to exploit them.


    My God.

    I find myself in agreement with Rory!
    This occasion ought to be marked with a poem, statue or somesuch.

  • mickhall

    Well said Rory,

    Miss Fitz, please do not delete Rove’s quote because it says a great deal, not least the real fear the neo-liberal fanatics have of working class people gaining access to the means to develop their cultural interests. The reason being like their forebears Rove and co simply see us as unthinking cart horses that create wealth for multi national Capital and its acolytes.

    One of main indictments of Thatcherism/Blairism is the cultural desert it has created in the UK. The extension of and birth of new cultural outlets is a real test of any political system. Normally when a Labour government comes to power [and not only in the UK]there is a burst of new theater, film, music, paintings, poetry etc. This happened in the 1960s, the late 1970s and back during the post 1945 period.

    It has little to do with the government it self, but that half inch of difference between a LP and Tory governments, which allows the space for progressive people to work and create in. [Richard Neville was one of the first to mentioned this] Sadly under both Thatcher and Blair art has continued to be ever more elitist, thus stagnate. An example of this is the horror of Charles Saatchi buying up tons of avant guard art only to warehouse it and when the warehouse burnt down, all the media wanted to ask was it insured.The creep got to the house of Lords for such Philistine behavior so we now where Blair stands on art, it is just another commodity to be brought and sold for a profit. What a cheap jerk that man is..

    True being the control freaks they are, the Blairites attempted to manufacture Brit art/pop but for that very reason this was bound to end in ridicule. Even pop music has become a stale caricature of itself, when in the 1960s we had the Beatles creating a new type of music, all be it based on american black music and tin pan ally, all the same it was innovative. As to were the punks of the 1970s, but to day all comes out of the belly on the multi national beast, is it any wonder today popular music is the backdrop for the advertising industry.

    Rant over, Good afternoon to all.


    One of the most striking differences between living in Northern Ireland or the UK and living in France is the attitude to all forms of cultural expression.
    Here in France culture is an all encompassing term which is seen as being for all the people and is embraced by all the people, from comic books to ‘high’ art.

  • Rory


    We must be in line for a grant for such a fine example of cross-community co-operation. I think I’ll give up the day job.

  • Taigs, The Daily Reading from The Rule of Benedict
    for today ( http://www.osb.org/rb/show.asp?mode=today) is entitled Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said Poetry and Psalms in South Down -it is all happening there