Brian Foster’s Free Derry poetry launch at Forum

Best known for his hit stage plays such as Maire A Woman of Derry, The Butterfly of Killybegs, From The Camp to Creggan and A Miracle in Donegal, award-winning Derry playwright Brian Foster used last year’s lockdowns to pen fifteen poems which he has titled Brian Foster’s Free Derry Collection.

Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 8:32 am

And this unique collection will receive its official public launch on Monday next, December at 3pm in The Millennium Forum. The event, which is free to the public, will be staged in the theatre’s piazza, so there will be plenty of space, seating, and the bar will be open for drinks.

Speaking ahead of the launch, he said: “Until last year’s lockdowns I had never before written a poem. So it was a whole new writing challenge for me as I set out to capture little snapshots of Derry’s social and political history of the past 60 years. And I’m really proud of the end result. I think people will readily relate to the sentiments I express. I tell it as I felt it ... as I saw it ... as I lived it. If you like my plays then you’ll like my poems.’

The collection portrays the local writer’s take on life in his native city. And with such titles as ‘Creggan’, ‘My Derry Days’, The Battle Of The Bogside’, ‘The Free Derry Wall’ and ‘Bloody Sunday’, Brian pulls no punches in commenting on some of the most important and tragic events to have befallen Derry over the past half-century plus.

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The Millennium Forum. DER2126GS - 048

His social observations unfold in ‘Derry Mothers’, which portrays the steadfastness of matriarchs down the years in guiding their families through poverty and deprivation. ‘Too Late To Save You’ deals with the tragic situation of suicide in Derry, while ‘Short Factory Girls’ pays tribute to the legions of shirt factory workers “who formed the backbone of Derry’s economy in a city deliberately starved of jobs for men”. There is also a short but heartbreaking poem, ‘Slipping Away From Us’, which looks at Alzheimer’s.

Brian said: “Assisting me with readings of the poems at the launch will be Gerry Doherty and Pat Lynch, two of Derry’s finest actors who regularly feature in my stage plays. Also assisting will be my good friend, and one of Derry’s finest singers, Monica McGuigan. And Micky Doherty, entertainer and charity fund-raiser extraordinaire, will read a poem.

“Those attending can purchase the entire collection of fifteen poems in A4 manuscript form, each personally printed and signed by me for just £10. These will make beautiful keepsakes, or the perfect Christmas gift for a loved one at home or abroad.”

Monica McGuigan will be singing for the first time in public ‘The Fallen 14’, a song Brian has specially written to commemorate the forthcoming 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

Brian Foster.

People are advised to turn up around 2:30pm on Monday ahead of the 3pm launch. As with all Forum events, those attending must bring proof of full vaccination, or of a negative lateral flow test, or proof of natural immunity. Any queries ring the Forum 02871 264455.