Tributes paid to Ballycastle poet Heather Newcombe

Northern Ireland’s literary community have paid tribute to Ballycastle poet Heather Newcombe, who has passed away, aged 67.

An award winning poet, Heather was the author of two collections with Summer Palace Press, ‘Almost Dancing’ and ‘A Purse of Shadows’. She was co-director of the ‘Let Me Take You To The Island’ literary festival, which took part on Rathlin Island for eleven years, and had previously worked with the Creative Writers Network. A key figure in the Ballycastle Writers group, Heather had been working on a third collection of poetry and novel, ‘A Grafted Life’, at the time of her death.

Damian Gorman: “Forthright, gifted, dynamic, indefatigable, it is very hard to think of Heather Newcombe as being gone from us. A fine poet herself, what she did for other writers, and for writing in her community, is under-sung.”

Olive Broderick cited Heather as “an inspiration through the lifetime of Write! Down and the Wild Geese Festival, and someone whose spirit and style I very much admired.”

Lagan Online and Verbal send our condolences to Heather’s family.

There are no words for loss

It has no substance to speak off.
nothing that will protect;
its gossamer thinness startled her.
It cannot hold against the lightest
of footsteps, or the heel of her left hand
pressed against it.
All frothing brown around
her bloodied ankles, her broken toes
a runaway river in winter flood.

(Originally published in FourXFour Poetry Journal, Feb ’15)


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