Easter Saturday

Myra Vennard

About the book…

Somewhere I might have known
holds every future as
an opaque glass
in a vestibule door.

In my mind
I turn a white handle
and a room is mine
I forgot I own.

­ from ‘The Vestibule’

The debut collection of Bangor poet Myra Vennard, Easter Saturday sings with an almost religious intensity and luminosity, revelling in the natural world and in the fleeting landscapes of love, loss and mortality.

Whether writing of Torr Head, a Swan drifting on the water, rhododendrons at daybreak, or the peculiar qualities of Ulster rain, Vennard brings to her poetry of observation not just an innate lyricism but an almost-moral belief in precision: this is poetry of subtle colourings, of the interplay of sunlight and shadow, of a determination to get it just so.

Yet, acting almost as an oblique commentary on her sense of place and love of nature, Easter Saturday also embraces the wider world. Ruminations on the physicality of art, the consolations of classical music, the solidity of a Venetian tomb set against the fragility of life, sit side-by-side with a free-flowing joy at more modern examples of genius: impromptu jazz and the brilliance of Frank Sinatra. In these poems, art, like nature, is equally a ‘glance from God’.

Photo of the author, Myra Vennard

About the author…

Myra Vennard was born in Belfast in 1929, where she was educated at primary school and secretarial college. She worked as a secretary in various posts until 1953 where she married and had a daughter and a son. 

She spent a brief period in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the late 1950s and early 1960s before returning to Northern Ireland where she resumed her work as secretary. Returning to higher education in the 1990s she graduated at the University of Ulster with honours BA in English Literature and an MA in Anglo-Irish literature, with a dissertation on the poetic vision of Samuel Beckett. 

As a post-graduate she attended the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College, Dublin, where she gained a diploma in Eumenics. It was around this period that she first began writing poetry, having work published in various magazines including Poetry Ireland and the Honest Ulsterman. 

She also broadcast on Radio Ulster. She attended Queen University Belfast creative writers’ group and in 2000 had poems the group’s anthology Hauling Songs; she also wrote reviews for various magazines and an essay and poems were published in Children of the Troubles by Laurel Holliday. 

Having lived for many years in Bangor, Co Down, she has now retired to Ballycastle, Co Antrim, where she has ancestral roots. Her first book of poetry Easter Saturday (2009) was published by Lagan Press. In 2010 she was won the Belfast Telegraph’s Woman of the Year in Arts Award.