The John Hewitt Society announces the publication of a new edition of Selected Poems, edited by Michael Longley and Frank Ormsby
For those attending the annual John Hewitt International Summer School in Armagh—something now legendary in the literary calendar—there is often an unfamiliarity with the work of the poet for whom the event is named. Attendees ask where they might find Hewitt’s words, and why the poet was so significant.
Tony Kennedy, Chair of The John Hewitt Society has commended Blackstaff Press for responding to this interest by publishing a new edition of John Hewitt’s Selected Poems.
Born in North Belfast in 1907, John Hewitt became the first writer in residence at Queen’s University in 1976. Edna Longley said that “his cross-sectarian ideal of Regionalism energised writers, painters and general cultural activity during the post-war period. It recovered ancestral voices and provided some of the basis for a second take-off in the 1960s.”
Michael Longley describes him as a poet who “held out the creative hand rather than the clenched fist [and] made himself heard in a land of bellowers without raising his voice.”
“The Selected Poems of John Hewitt introduced a whole new generation to the work of this important poet when it was first published back in 2007,” said Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
“It is excellent to welcome this reissue of the book in 2022, again guided by two distinguished poets in Michael Longley and Frank Ormsby, as the enduring power of Hewitt’s distinctive idiom is proved again, 35 years after the author’s death.”