Poetry Ireland announces inaugural Poet in Residence

2nd October 2019

Poetry Ireland is delighted to announce that its inaugural Poet in Residence is award-winning poet Catherine Ann Cullen. 

Catherine Ann has been appointed to the post for a two-year period, as part of an exciting new neighbourhood project which will engage with the many communities who call the north inner city home. 

This new role is funded by the Adrian Brinkerhoff Poetry Fund of the Sidney E Frank Foundation with additional support from the Social Innovation Growth Fund Ireland. 

Catherine Ann, who is a poet, children’s writer and songwriter, was chosen after an application and interview process during summer 2019. 

“I’m honoured and excited to be appointed Poetry Ireland’s inaugural Poet in Residence,” she said. “The post is an imaginative initiative for the communities of Dublin’s north inner city, and I hope to help to fulfil its promise. 

“My approach to the residency will build on what I’ve learned as an artist in the community and especially in this neighbourhood over many years: to listen to the people with whom I’m working, to foster their interest in poetry and facilitate their self-expression, and, with them, to develop ideas that channel their concerns, traditions and artistic energies.” 

Catherine Ann said that a key driver in her residency will be forming or cementing creative relationships with local groups and people who are often excluded. 

“I look forward to developing a new portfolio of projects for myself and the north inner city communities with the fantastic team at Poetry Ireland, in the beautiful surroundings of Poetry Ireland’s home on Parnell Square.” 

Maureen Kennelly, Director of Poetry Ireland, said the organisation was delighted to appoint Catherine Ann to the post and was excited by the proposals she has put forward as Poet in Residence. 

“Catherine Ann has a vast range of experience as a writer, lecturer and documentary maker and has worked on several projects that have involved close collaboration with people in different communities,” she said. “We very much welcome all of that valuable experience and Catherine Ann’s strong focus on inclusion in what she will bring to the Poet in Residence role in the next two years.” 

The role will involve extensive work with a number of diverse communities within the north inner city. These groups will include the SAOL project for women and the Pathways Centre for former prisoners, as well as schools, libraries, youth and adult groups to be confirmed. 

Making a visible impact in the local community is a core aim of the residency scheme, which will include input from other writers and artists. The Poet in Residence will also have time to engage in their own creative work and to develop commissioned work for Poetry Ireland. 

Catherine Ann Cullen Bio 

Catherine Ann Cullen is an award-winning poet, children’s writer and songwriter, and a recipient of the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship for Poetry 2018/19. Her three poetry collections are The Other Now: New and Selected Poems (Dedalus Press 2016),  Strange Familiar (Doghouse 2013) and A Bone in My Throat (Doghouse 2007).

From September 2016 to June 2019, she was A&L Goodbody Writer in Residence in St Joseph’s Co-Ed School, East Wall, Dublin, for which she won the 2017 Business to Arts Award for Best Use of Creativity in the Community. She is also resident writer since 2012 on the Bookmarks project run by Trinity Access Programmes.

Her latest book,  All Better! (Little Island, 2019), poems for children about illness and recovery, was reimagined from a Latvian book by Inese Zandere. Catherine Ann has published two other children’s books with Little Brown in the U.S. She was joint winner of Poetry Ireland’s Joyce-Cycle Poetry Prize 2019 and won the Dublin City Council Camac Song Contest 2018 and the Francis Ledwidge Poetry Award 2016 and 2009.

She has worked on songwriting projects for children across Ireland, funded by the Arts Council, the Dublin Docklands Fund and Louth County Council. Recent projects in Dublin’s North Inner City include Street Songs and Sea Shanties for the 21st Century for DEIS schools in the area; two ‘rebel cabarets’, Eastrogen Rising, on the women of 1916, and Revolting Women,  on 100 years of women’s suffrage, both devised by a group of (mainly) women writers for the Five Lamps Festival 2016, and Dublin Gay Theatre Festival 2019; and Rumpelstiltskin, a script in verse for local BAFTA-award-winning animator Tim Fernée.  

Catherine Ann is a former producer of documentaries, current affairs and features programmes, and has lectured in radio journalism. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing/Public Works from Middlesex University, London. She was born in Drogheda, Co Louth, and lives in Dublin.