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.


Connie Roberts
Connie Roberts

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. 


Paywright/actress Erin Layton and Connie Roberts
Playwright/actress Erin Layton and Connie Roberts

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.”


  1. Honor Molloy says:

    Wonderful post, Charles. Congratulations, Connie! I cannot wait to read LITTLE WITNESS. xo-h.

    1. Isn’t she the best, Honor?

  2. Connie Roberts says:

    Thanks so much, Honor! And (blush blush), Charles!

  3. Niamh Hyland says:

    She sure is the best! I can’t wait for folks to experience her work. Go get em Connie!

    1. Connie Roberts says:

      If you keep this up, Niamh, I’ll have to grease the door to get me head out 🙂 Thank you.

  4. It’s a victory, Connie. And I am so thrilled for you and cannot wait to get a copy. Maybe you’ll even sign it! So great for you, Kate

    1. Connie Roberts says:

      Thank you very much, Kate. I truly appreciate your support. I’d be delighted to sign a copy of Little Witness for you. You can get it online, on my website, and I’ll ship it to you, or if you’re going to be at the AWoW showcase later in the month, I can bring you a copy. Whatever tickles your fancy 🙂 I hope all is well with you.

  5. Congratulations, Connie. And a blurb from Dan Barry no less, the best feature writer anywhere. You two should do a book together!

    1. Connie Roberts says:

      Thanks so much, Peter! Oh, indeed don’t I know how lucky I am to have a blurb from Dan Barry on my jacket cover. Chuffed. Hope you’re in fine fettle.

  6. patrick mcdermott says:

    Hello Connie just found this site I think we crossed
    paths one time when I was young,
    will be buying your book too.

    1. Connie Roberts says:

      Thank you so much, Patrick! I appreciate your note, and your support. I’m curious, where might we have crossed paths years ago?

Comments are closed.