THE WONDERFUL DEBUT BOOK OF CONNIE ROBERTS’ POEMS, “LITTLE WITNESS”
written by Charles R. Hale
Given a cruel childhood how does anyone function psychologically at a far greater level than his or her experiences might predict? It’s a question I’ve often pondered when thinking of my grandfather Allie’s extremely difficult youth.
Recently, I had a discussion with poet Connie Roberts about this same topic. Connie suffered through an equally difficult childhood but survived as one of the most talented, vivacious people I’ve ever met. I asked her when she was going to write a memoir and she said, “I have. It’s all in my poetry.”
Now you have an opportunity to read this great woman’s work. The winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award as Ireland’s top poet in 2010 and winner of the Listowel Writer’s Week Poetry Collection Award, her debut book of poems Little Witness has been published by Arlen House Dublin. You can buy a copy and learn more about Connie by clicking here.
Here’s what Dan Barry wrote about Connie’s work in the NY Times: “The concrete language of Connie Roberts hits you hard; leaves a mark. You smell the brutal father’s soured Guinness breath before his next abomination; you taste the succulent orange spirited into an orphanage bed; you feel the sting of a nun’s wooden spoon, the warm piss of fear, the run of blood. In her vivid recounting of a childhood spent in one of Ireland’s notorious industrial schools, truth hides behind no “masquerade of metaphors.” Roberts honors children, holds adults accountable, and finds acceptance, all with a reportorial rigor that, through her soaring language and big-hearted vision, achieves poetic art. This is the poetry of rock-hard experience. It will skin your soul.”