Adrian Rice at the Welders



Tonight I was at the Harland and Wolff Welders Club, Dee Street, Belfast for the launch of Adrian’s new book The Clock Tower.I sat with Jennifer Mendenhall from Arkansas, who was one of a group of young students studying politics from USA.The poet was introduced by Sammy Douglas MLA, the American Consul General Gregory S Burton and Belfast Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson

Adrian Rice is from Northern Ireland.  He was born just north of Belfast in 1958, in Whitehouse, Newtownabbey, County Antrim.  He graduated from the University of Ulster with a BA in English & Politics, and an MPhil in Anglo-Irish Literature. He has delivered writing workshops, readings, and lectures throughout the UK & Ireland, and America.  His first sequence of poems appeared in Muck Island (Moongate Publications, 1990), a collaboration with Irish Artist Ross Wilson. Copies of this limited edition box-set are housed in the collections of The Tate Gallery, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and The Lamont Library at Harvard University. 

A following chapbook, Impediments (Abbey Press, 1997), also earned widespread critical acclaim.  He edited Signals (Abbey Press, 1997), which was a London Times Educational Supplement ‘Paperback Choice’.  He has also edited five anthologies of children’s poetry, art and drama.  In 1997, Adrian received the Sir James Kilfedder Memorial Bursary for Emerging Artists.  In autumn 1999, as recipient of the US/Ireland Exchange Bursary, he was Poet-in-Residence at Lenoir-Rhyne  University Hickory, NC, where he received ‘The Key to the City’.  His first full poetry collection – The Mason’s Tongue (Abbey Press, 1999) – was shortlisted for the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Literary Prize, nominated for the Irish Times Prize for Poetry, and translated into Hungarian by Dr. Thomas Kabdebo (A Komuves Nyelve, epl/ediotio plurilingua, 2005). 

In 2002, he co-edited a major Irish anthology entitled, A Conversation Piece: Poetry and Art (The Ulster Museum in association with Abbey Press).  His latest publications include The Tin God, a history of Cans Metal Box factory, Portadown, which was shortlisted for the ‘Celebrating Our Local History’ Competition by the Northern Ireland Publications Resource; and Insights (as editor), an anthology of poetry from The Dungannon Visually-Impaired Group, which earned the Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council’s ‘Achievement Award’.  His poems and reviews have been broadcast internationally on radio and television, and have been published in several international magazines and journals, including Poetry Ireland Review and The New Orleans Review.  Selections of his poetry and prose have appeared in both The Belfast Anthology and The Ulster Anthology (Ed., Patricia Craig, Blackstaff Press, 1999 & 2006) and in Magnetic North: The Emerging Poets (Ed., John Brown, Lagan Press, 2006).

A chapbook, Hickory Haiku, was published in 2010 by Finishing Line Press, Kentucky. Moongate – a new limited edition art-book of poems and images, also in (trans-Atlantic) collaboration with Irish artist, Ross Wilson – is forthcoming. A new full collection – Hickory Station– is presently under consideration by publishers. Rice returned to Lenoir-Rhyne University as Visiting Writer-in-Residence for 2005.  Since then, he and his wife Molly and their son, Micah, have settled in Hickory where he teaches English and Creative Writing at Catawba Valley Community College. Turning poetry into lyrics, he has also teamed up with Hickory-based and fellow Belfastman, musician/songwriter Alan Mearns, to form ‘The Belfast Boys’, a dynamic Irish Traditional Music duo.

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