12NOW: Olive Broderick

olive_broderick_square_colourOriginally from Youghal in Co. Cork, Olive Broderick came to Belfast to undertake the Creative Writing MA at Queen’s University, before settling in Downpatrick, Co. Down in 2003. In 2009, she was one of the Poetry Introduction Series readers and won a Henessy X.O. Literary Award in the Emerging Poetry Category for the same year. Her first publication, pamphlet ‘Darkhaired‘ (Templar Poetry, 2010), was shortlisted for a Michael Marks Award. A full collection ‘Night Divers‘ is due to be published in early 2017 by Templar.


Olive also facilitates workshops and hosts a monthly writers’ group at the National Trust’s beautiful Castle Ward property. She is co-host of the ‘Poems on a Sunday Afternoon’ sessions with Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick. She acknowledges the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

“I find inspiration for my poetry in all sorts of places – the crossroads where opposing or unrelated ideas meet; scenes and stories that somehow resonate; the generosity of other poets and artists whose work I love; the way the issues of the wider world, culture, economy, politics, for example, work themselves out in our lives as individuals. What draws me to write is the joy of creating with words, and the wish to share what has come to me.”

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CastleWardArtandCrafts
Twitter: @pearldiver23

Night Divers

The divers go under.
Overlapping lily-pads of light
mark the place of their descent.
I stand on deck watching out for them.

The moon, my beacon, but
no anchor, gives enough light
to make a silhouette of jagged edges –
the ocean and the coast.

The boat, at anchor, is nudged,
insistently, by the undertow.
It has the rhythm of a death-rattle.
My only counsel is to keep breathing.

Suddenly, they come to the surface
and like silent, ocean glow-worms
they move across towards the boat.
The night divers return laughing.

Austerity Times

When the captain calls
brace, brace
you can’t remember
what you should do

You are now alone
in the air
and the whole world
seems to be falling

You are surprised at the speed
of your thinking
none of which amounts to much
when you have no control

instead you look
to your neighbours
one-by-one you all assume
the brace position

Head to knees – your own arms embracing
a quiet kind of descent
silent calls for help and then the heart reminds you
what you truly care for

and through a dent in your damaged craft
flies the winged companion
of this mad uncertainty


[First Published in FourXFour, Issue 7 Winter 2014]