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Emma Must


Home: Welcome

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. (See Hampshire Chronicle, 25 January 2023; Resurgence & Ecologist, Jan/Feb 2023; Honest Ulsterman, February 2023)

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.

Royalties from each sale of The Ballad of Yellow Wednesday will be donated to Transport Action Network and the A36/A350 Corridor Alliance.

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April 2023

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Cúirt International Festival of Literature 

Thursday 20 April, 4.30pm
Nuns Island Theatre, Galway

Writing Collapse: Eco-poetry with Daisy Lafarge,  Emma Must and Selina Nwulu

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Cúirt International Festival of Literature 

Saturday, 22 April 2023, 1:00pm
Town Hall Theatre, Galway

A Changing Climate: Writing, Activism and the Environment

Manchán Magan, Eoghan Daltun, Emma Must in conversation with Ceara Carney

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March 2023


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.

Contact: Niamh Kelly, Creative Programme Team Engagement Officer


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Spring 2023



Poetry Jukebox curation

with Maria McManus 

and Institute for Global Food Security 

at Queen's University Belfast


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 will be curated by poets Emma Must & Maria McManus. They welcome poems (one per poet) that connect with the theme of ‘Forage’: poems about leaves, flowers, berries, stones, moss; poems which pay detailed attention to the natural world around us.

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January/February 2023

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Resurgence and Ecologist magazine 

Issue 336
Jan/Feb 2023

includes 'The Colour of its Voice'  –

an article by Emma about writing her debut poetry collection, The Ballad of Yellow Wednesday (Valley Press, December 2022)

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Winter 2022


The Book of Life:

Poems to Tide You Over 

edited by Grace Wells 

published by Dedalus Press

11 November 2022

 includes Emma's poem 'After Ophelia'

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Autumn 2022

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Vital Signs 

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



Issue #13 

Spring/Summer 2022

Includes a new poem from Emma's forthcoming sequence
'The Finds'

What Northern Ireland Means to Me

edited by Allan Leonard and Julia Paul 

Published April 2022

Shared Future News

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Winter 2021 / 2022

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Under the Radar 

Issue 28

January 2022

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.


The North

Issue 67

January 2022

Includes a new poem 'Scales'.


Issue 10

December 2021

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


December 2021

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. 

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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

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Home: Latest Work
Notebook and Pen


Thanks for submitting!

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Emma acknowledges the kind assistance and support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Author photos by Jonathan Ryder

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