Poems for When You Can’t Find the Words - A comforting collection of poetry from the Irish Hospice Foundation 

28th July 2022

Poems for When You Can’t Find the Words
From The Irish Hospice Foundation

Edited by Mary Shine Thompson
Created in partnership with Poetry Ireland

Poems for When You Can’t Find the Words is a comforting collection of poetry from the Irish Hospice Foundation which offers intimate verse of honesty, candour and solidarity to patients, carers and the bereaved alike. Readers will find comfort in the penned reflections of death, grief, loss and love that span the barriers of time, geography and language.

Poetry Ireland is delighted to partner with the Irish Hospice Foundation on Poems for When You Can’t Find the Words, by commissioning four new poems for inclusion in this anthology of poems that aims to bring solace and refuge in the most difficult times of our lives.

Maintaining our commitment to diversity and inclusion, Poetry Ireland selected, commissioned and invited poets from amongst the growing community of new poets on the island of Ireland. The four commissioned poems are ‘Home of Worship’ by Abby Oliveira, ‘Mother Moon’, by Eriko Tsugawa-Madden, ‘Summer in Killybegs’, by Nandi Jola and ‘What the Hands Know’, by Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal.

‘Sometimes, the right words in the right order remain tantalisingly beyond our reach: when, for example, emotions are raw, or formless, or just overwhelming,’ said Mary Shine Thompson, who edited and introduced the collection. ‘[Poetry] speaks to the fears and concerns that illness and approaching death awaken. Poetry can keep us going.’

Poems for When You Can’t Find the Words includes comforting works by Patrick Kavanagh, Louise Glück, Seamus Heaney, Emily Dickinson, Michael D. Higgins, Paula Meehan and more.

The book brings together classic poets, beloved Irish figures, medieval translations and new commissions. An essential collection for those leaving or left.

Commissioned Poets 

Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal was born in the Himalayan town of Palampur, India. She studied at St. Bede’s College, Shimla; Trinity College, Dublin; and Queen’s University, Belfast. Her poems have been translated into Arabic, German, Italian; and have appeared in Ambit, Banshee, Gutter, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Jukebox, Poetry London, The Irish Times and elsewhere. In 2018, she was one of the twelve poets selected for Poetry Ireland’s Introductions Series. She was the 2021 Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow at the University of Kent. Supriya’s debut The Yak Dilemma is out now with Makina Books, London.

Nandi Jola is a South African born poet, storyteller and playwright, as well as a Smock Alley Theatre Rachel Baptiste 2022 Programme recipient. She was a creative writing facilitator for Ulster University Books Beyond Boundaries NI in 2021. Her one woman play ‘The Journey’ opened the International Literature Festival Dublin in October, 2020. She represented Northern Ireland at the Transpoesie Poetry Festival in 2021 and is a commissioned poet for Poetry Jukebox, Ambiguities, a James Joyce programme of the Centre Culturel Irlandais and Impermanence Way Archive Project 2022. She is studying for her MA in Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast.

Abby Oliveira is a writer and performer based in Derry.  Her work is often cross-discipline and collaborative; comprising poetry, storytelling, music, prose, playwriting, and/or physical performance.   She's all into the battles & triumphs of the human mind, body, and spirit in relation to the socio-political/cultural tornado that has been the 21st century.  Her work has been most recently published in The 32: An anthology of Irish Working Class voices (Unbound, 2021), The New Frontier: reflections from the Irish border (New Island Books, 2021), and Empty House: poetry & prose on the climate crisis (Doire Press, 2021).  She has been commissioned as a writer by organisations such as The MAC in Belfast, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Foyle, RTÉ Radio, and more.  

Eriko Tsugawa-Madden was born in Japan. She moved to Ireland in 1989. Her first bilingual poetry book Bride of the Wind was published by Kinseido in 2013. Her poems have been included in the Dedalus Press anthologies, Landing Places, Writing Home & Local Wonders. 1n 2022, she won the 55th Oguma Award in Japan, for her second bilingual poetry book Lull In The Rain.

About the Author

Irish Hospice Foundation is a national charity that addresses dying, death and bereave-ment in Ireland. Their vision is an Ireland where people facing end of life or bereavement, and those who care for them, are provided with the care and support that they need.

Mary Shine Thompson lectured in English at St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, now Dublin City University, until her retirement. Her edition of Skelligs Haul, by Michael Kirby, was published in 2019, and her exploration of the literary heritage of Westmeath features in Westmeath: Literature and Society (edited by S. O’Brien and W. Nolan, 2022). She is a former chair of Poetry Ireland, the national organisation for poetry, and also of Imram, Féile Litríochta Gaeilge.

Poems for When You Can’t Find the Words by the Irish Hospice Foundation will be published by Gill Books on Thursday, 1 September 2022, priced at €16.99.

Pre-order a copy for yourself or as a gift for a friend, on Easons, Dubray Books or Book Station web sites. It will be available in all good bookshops from 1st September.