Longlisted for the Laurel Prize 2023
(Valley Press blog)
Emma Must is a poet living in Belfast.
Her first full-length poetry collection, The Ballad of Yellow Wednesday, was published by Valley Press on 8 December 2022, and launched that evening at No Alibis Bookstore, Belfast. The collection reflects on her involvement in the anti-road protests at Twyford Down near Winchester in the early 1990s.
Formerly a full-time environmental campaigner, in 2021 Emma completed a PhD in English (Creative Writing) at Queen’s University Belfast, focusing on ecopoetry and ecocriticism. Her poem ‘Toll’ won the Environmental Defenders Prize in the 2019 Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry and is included in Out of Time: Poetry from the Climate Emergency, edited by Kate Simpson (Valley Press, 2021). Emma's debut poetry pamphlet, Notes on the Use of the Austrian Scythe (2015), won the Templar Portfolio Award.
Read: Hampshire Chronicle, 25 January 2023; Resurgence & Ecologist, Jan/Feb 2023; Honest Ulsterman, February 2023; Irish Times, 9 March 2023; CUSP, 22 June 2023; Writers Rebel, 13 July 2023
Listen: Solastalgia Episode 7: Wolf Moon Part 2, 3 April 2023; Mum Will the Planet Die Before I Do?, 22 June 2023
Royalties from each sale of The Ballad of Yellow Wednesday will be donated to Transport Action Network and the A36/A350 Corridor Alliance.
Thursday 23 November 2023, 7.30pm
Seamus Heaney HomePlace
What role can, and should, poetry play in the climate crisis? Is reading and writing poetry an inherently ecological act and if so how do we define ‘ecopoetry’? Join Editor Kate Simpson and poets Linda France and Emma Must as they discuss the poetics of climate – charting deep geologic time through to current anthropocentric behaviours whilst utilising language as a witness to our time on Earth. In this discussion and reading, we speak to, and of, the human and more-than-human, exploring words and worlds in tandem.
Poetry Jukebox curation
with Maria McManus
and Institute for Global Food Security
at Queen's University Belfast
Wednesday 27 September 2023
Institute for Global Food Security,
19 Chlorine Gardens,
Ever since William Blake desired ‘To see a World in a Grain of Sand / And a Heaven in a Wild Flower’, poets have been shedding light on things by looking closely at small natural objects.
This edition of Poetry Jukebox, curated by poets Emma Must & Maria McManus, includes poems which connect with the theme of ‘Forage’: poems about leaves, flowers, berries, stones, moss; poems which pay detailed attention to the natural world around us.
Ceremony and Readings
Friday 22 September 2023
Howard Assembly Room, Leeds
3.30 - 5.00pm
Hosted by Paul Maddern
Wednesday 13 September
4.15pm - 5.30pm
Canada Room & Council Chambers
Queen's University Belfast
Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy
Saturday 26 August 2023,
2.00pm - 5.30pm
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the death of Seamus Heaney
with Alice Lyons, Niall Campbell, Emma Must, Martin Dyar & Zaffar Kunial (event continues on Sunday)
The John Hewitt Society International Summer School
Tuesday 25 July 2023
Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre, Armagh
Belfast Book Festival
Thursday 15 June 2023
Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast
Greens, Tolls, Weeds: Zaffar Kunial, Jess McKinney & Emma Must
Alert to pressures of the climate crisis and contested grounds, but also the radical potential in gestures of naming, this year’s festival joins together three poets - Zaffar Kunial, Jess McKinney and Emma Must - whose recent publications crisscross endangered biomes with humane paths, unbinding landscape in voluptuously detailed poetry.
Solastalgia - Stories of accidental environmental activism in Northern Ireland. Solastalgia names the powerful emotions people feel when encountering and experiencing environmental damage, pollution and destruction. Join Sue-Ann Harding and Colin Shaw, accidental environmental activists living in Belfast, as they hold conversations with ordinary people, who, stirred by emotions, become activists, fighting for environmental respect, regard, protection and conservation. For anyone who has ever felt upset at the loss of even a small patch of nature, confounded by obscure government planning decisions or frustrated and furious at the corporate disregard for our fragile natural world, these stories of struggle offer solidarity. Produced by Stephen Mullen. Music by Sue-Ann Harding
In this episode, we talk with Emma Must, poet, Belfast resident and, in another time and place, an accidental activist. We begin by discovering our common appreciations of the city of Belfast, including Emma’s encounter with the tree-felling and vegetation removal along the River Lagan towpath. “Wolf Moon”, the poem she wrote in response to that devastation, is read here for the first time.
This episode continues the story of poet Emma Must and her part in the extensive and influential environmental activist campaign that worked tirelessly and imaginatively to prevent the carving of a motorway through the beautiful, mythical Twyford Down. We pick up the story in the summer of 1993, when a civil injunction is served against her and 76 others by the Ministry of Transport. We talk about what happened next and the consequences of breaking the civil injunction. Emma also reads from her recent poetry collection, The Ballad of Yellow Wednesday, including the statement she wrote for her court appearance in July 1993, before she was imprisoned.
Wednesday 19 April, 8.00pm
The City Library, Grand Parade, Cork | Free
For the Love of the World: Eco Writing with Emma Must, Eoghan Daltun and Grace Wells, presented by Keith Payne
Things being so urgent, when you
open a book its leaves should take you
back to the forest they came from …
writes Grace Wells, as in tune with the environment around her as are each of these authors. Each as savage and passionate in their concern for the world we inhabit, and that perhaps, with their work and words, we might just make a better place for all living things.
Cúirt International Festival of Literature
Thursday 20 April, 4.30pm
Nuns Island Theatre, Galway
Cúirt International Festival of Literature
Saturday, 22 April 2023, 1.00pm
Town Hall Theatre, Galway
Manchán Magan, Eoghan Daltun, Emma Must in conversation with Ceara Carney
Free workshop, starting & finishing at 2 Royal Avenue, Belfast
Friday 24 March 2023, 11:00 – 13:00
Learn a new way to explore your city!
Join us for a walk round Belfast city centre, followed by a creative writing session to capture what you see, hear and experience in words.
You’ll be guided, step by step, by local poet Emma Must.
No prior experience needed and completely free to take part. Please wear comfortable shoes and bring a notebook and pen.
Open to all over 18, part of Belfast Festival of Learning.
Poems of Illness and Healing
edited by Martin Dyar
published by Poetry Ireland
12 October 2022
Poems by Eavan Boland, Raymond Carver, Imtiaz Dharker, Vona Groarke, Seamus Heaney, Miroslav Holub, Patrick Kavanagh, Paula Meehan, Paul Muldoon, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and many others, including Emma's poem 'Sirens'.
Spring / Summer 2022
Includes a new poem from Emma's forthcoming sequence
edited by Allan Leonard and Julia Paul
Published April 2022
Shared Future News
Winter 2021 / 2022
Under the Radar
Includes a new poem 'Bourne'.
What Northern Ireland Means to Me
Shared Future News
8 January 2022
Presented by Julia Paul. Photos by Allan Leonard.
Includes a new poem 'Scales'.
Edited by Mícheál McCann. The issue features poets and poetry in Northern Ireland, 2021. Includes a new poem 'Gongoozling'.
Hold Open the Door
Museum of Literature Ireland
Poets Bebe Ashley, Emma Must and Sinéad Morrissey in conversation. Presented by Professor Margaret Kelleher of UCD. Hold Open the Door is a commemorative anthology from the Ireland Chair of Poetry and UCD Press, published in 2020.
Out of Time: Poetry from the Climate Emergency
'Toll', winner of the Environmental Defenders Prize in the 2019 Ginkgo Prize, is included in Out of Time: Poetry from the Climate Emergency, edited by Kate Simpson (Valley Press, July 2021).
- an Autumn 2021 Poetry Book Society Special Commendation
- one of 'The best poetry books of 2021', Guardian, 6 December 2021