The Tab meets Sinéad Morrissey

The accomplished poet laureate and QUB Reader in Creative Writing talks about her amazing achievements over the past year.


Being lucky enough to call this woman not only one of favourite poets, but also my personal tutor and dissertation advisor, I got the chance to ask Dr Sinéad Morrissey about her incredible year in the literary world!

Sinéad Morrissey in the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry garden

How did you feel after finding out your poetry collection, Parallax, that you published in the same month as becoming Belfast’s first poet laureate had won the 2013 T.S Eliot Prize for Poetry?

“That it’s my most amazing year to date – my annus mirabilis!”

Can you briefly describe your winning collection ‘Parallax’ for our readers?

“It’s about the act of seeing, and the fallibility of individual perspective. There’s a lot in it to do with old photography and film, which was my starting point, but there are also personal and political poems too.”

Which is your favourite poem in the collection?

“A Matter of Life and Death”

After both your achievements this year, as well as your fellow Creative Writing lecturer Glenn Patterson’s BAFTA nomination, how would you describe your job and co-workers in the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at the School of English Department at Queen’s?

“Well I’m very lucky to work at the Heaney Centre, which really is the home to some of the finest creative practitioners in this islands, in all genres, It’s a special place.”

Who are your three favourite poets of all time?

“R. S. Thomas, Les Murray and Amy Clampitt.”

Finally, can you give any aspiring (poets such as myself,) one key piece of advice for writing good poetry?

“Check every word to see if it’s fresh and necessary to the poem – cut everything else out that’s not.”

Morrissey’s winning collection; Parallax!