West Belfast-based poet awarded Ireland chair of poetry bursary

West Belfast-based poet Natasha Cuddington, who is originally from Saskatchewan

WEST Belfast-based poet Natasha Cuddington has been announced as the recipient of the 2017 Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary. The bursary is awarded annually to a poet of promise and enables the recipient to reside for a period of four weeks at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, an artists' retreat in Annaghmakerrig, Co Monaghan.

Originally from Canada, Natasha studied Creative Writing and English Literature at Concordia University, Montreal, prior taking an MA in Irish Studies at Queen's University, Belfast. Her translations, reviews and poems have been published in Ireland, Britain and the United States.

Natasha was nominated for the 2017 Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary by the Ireland Professor of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin. “I was struck by the integrity of her work, its precision in layout and the confidence she shows in a reader's ability to be touched by language divorced from predictable shapes and structures," Prof Ní Chuilleanáin said.

The poet, who has been supported throughout her career by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland under the Support for Individual Artists Scheme, said that what she hopes to be "a four-week period of solitude and deep focus" would "provide recess from my very busy family life".

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