Poet Matthew in running for Heaney award

Matthew Rice.  INCT 07-722-CON
Matthew Rice. INCT 07-722-CON

A Carrickfergus poet is in the running for a prestigious creative writing award after his work was chosen for an upcoming collection.

Three of Matthew Rice’s poems will appear in ‘Connections’, an anthology by the Community Arts Partnership and the Arts Council.

The 35-year-old was born in Belfast, spending his early years in Rathcoole, then Islandmagee and Whitehead.

“I’ve been writing poetry for about seven or eight years, though with my father [Adrian Rice] being an established poet I have always been surrounded by poets and poetry,” Matthew said. “The writing, rather than just the reading of poetry strangely began after I went with my father to the WB Yeats exhibition in Dublin. This was followed by a trip to Rome with my mother and sisters. The immersion in Rome’s rich history and culture also helped to encourage me to put pen to paper.”

Matthew was introduced to the Connections project thanks to his father’s friend, Ian Duhig.

“It’s the first time I’ve been published in a book anthology of poems; however, I have been published widely in reputable journals on both sides of the Atlantic,” Matthew added.

The three poems chosen by Matthew for Connections are Why, Lost, and The Harbour. “Two of the poems incorporate childhood memories, rural memories overshadowed by urban clouds,” he said. “The other is dedicated to a Holocaust survivor, the great poet Primo Levi, and captures my fascination with historical subject matter.”

Lost has been included on the longlist for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing. The winner of the award will be announced at the launch of the anthology on March 13 in Duncairn Cultural Arts Centre, Belfast.