Cáit O'Neill McCullagh
Turning Sunwise was first published by Poets Republic in In War & Peace, Poets Respond (March 2022)
Copies of The songs I sing are sisters, Cáit’s chapbook composed collaboratively with Sligo poet Sinéad McClure are available here.
You can find selections of Cáit's writing in these places:
Essays, poems and reviews.
Cáit is a regular contributor to Bella Caledonia - click for links to her contributions.
Poems published on line:
Poems in Northwords Now
Four poems (on page 6)
The Banyan Review (including a video of Cáit reading her poem ‘Icarus’ Sister’)
Poems in Drawn to the Light
Islands (on page 17)
Drowning in Sorghum (on page 22)
Poems in Spilling Cocoa over Martin Amis:
Jack Kerouac’s Orange (An Origin Myth)
A Last Will for your Detriment
Poems in Lothlorien Poetry Journal
Five poems Kin, Migrant, Strata, Before the
Hope is being born: A Solstice Nativity
Crow of Minerva
Two poems Tethered, Whale: A Planet Dream
Visual Verse: An Anthology of Art and Words
Poet's Republic In War and Peace
Turning Sunwise is on this page
The Blue Note in Not The Time to Be Silent: Collected works
The Mother Tree in Ink Sweat and Tears
Hear Cáit read selections of her poems in the following two episodes of the Eat The Storms podcast (listen on your preferred podcast platform – e.g. Spotify, Podbean, etc.).
Eat the Storms celebrates The Storms Journal
Watch Cáit and her chapbook collaborator, Sinéad McClure, read poems from and speak about ‘The songs I sing are sisters’ as part of the Collaborating Voices Live Poetry New Books Showcase.
Cáit reads poem What 2022 wanted us to hear for the Federation of Writers (Scotland) 22 for 22 virtual anthology.
Cáit O'Neill McCullagh’s background includes her work as an ethnologist, archaeologist, and curator. At home on the north shore of the Cromarty Firth, she researches and writes about co-curating historic and contemporary collections of objects and archives, and co-producing new writing, and short films with people living throughout the Highlands and Northern Isles who are continuing and renewing traditional knowledges and practices for assembling sustainable, and sustaining, futures.
Both through placing her palms to whole communities’ pasts while excavating prehistoric settlements and funerary sites from Caithness to Moray, and Cromarty to Sleat, and in her work towards conflict resolution in Northern Ireland, Cáit has practiced an education in attention for how people, through time, have lived and given meaning to their most profound, and often everyday experiences, including displacement, belonging, relationships, and loss.
Cáit’s academic writing has been published in diverse books and peer reviewed journals. She also writes for print and online journalism, including opinion editorials and cultural reviews for Bella Caledonia. An essayist, her writing on politics and cultural life has been published in Bella Caledonia: An Anthology of Writing from 2007-2021. Described as ‘an anthology of some of the best of Bella’s published work since the launch way back in 2007’, this publication also includes writing from Caithness Makar George Gunn, cultural commentator Alan Bisset, Scotland’s Makar, Kathleen Jamie, and novelist Irvine Welsh. Her essay on George MacKay Brown in Beyond the Swelkie, a collection of contemporary poems and writing published to celebrate the poet’s centenary year, has been described as a ’fascinating positioning of GMB in microcosm and macrocosm’, reconsidering this Orcadian skald / bard as an important voice for meeting the challenges of the present Anthropocene.
Cáit began writing her own poetry in December 2020. Since then her poems have been published in print and online including in Northwords Now, The Poets Republic, Poetry Scotland, The Banyan Review, Drawn to the Light Press, Visual Verse: An Anthology of Art and Words, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, and Lothlorien Poetry Journal. She has also had poems commissioned for North Antrim’s Pub Poetry Network’s ‘This is the World’ exhibition and Crowvus’ Scottish Book Week ‘Poetry in the High Street ‘ exhibition, both in 2021.
A joint winner of the Boyne Berries Poetry Day Ireland Instapoem competition 2021, in 2022 Cáit had two poems longlisted for Galway’s Cúirt International Festival of Literature ‘Poems for Patience’ competition and was also longlisted for the Scottish Poetry Library’s ‘Roddy Lumsden Memorial Mentorship Programme’. In March 2022, Cáit and her friend and ‘sister poet’, Sinéad McClure of Sligo, Ireland, were announced as winners of Dreich’s ‘Classic Chapbook Competition’ 2022, for their collaboratively composed small collection The songs I sing are sisters. This book, a first chapbook publication for both authors, has been described as having a power to uplift which ‘lies in the sheer honesty and clarity of the poetry’ (John Glenday), and as being ‘enshrined in a kind of hard beauty that unites kin, father, mother, mother earth and the many facets of life, death, hope’ (Terry McDonagh). Copies of The songs … are available here.
Cáit’s poetry has also appeared in anthologies, including Dreich’s The Edge of All Storms and Not the time to be silent: Collected works. Her work has also been chosen for inclusion in the inaugural issues of some exciting new print journals including the Irish publications Howl and The Storms. She has also enjoyed being a featured and invited reader in poetry podcasts, including Eat The Storms. Recently she has embarked on some new collaborations, including with ceramic artist Rachel Ho and musician Anita Mackenzie Mills. Each is responding to a poem included in ‘The songs I sing are sisters’, and all three are exploring creating together a multi-media installation, and associated programme of talks and workshops. Most recently, Cáit has started tutoring poetry writing classes in person and online, including for Timespan. She is also completing a new pamphlet and preparing and composing work for a full collection to be published by Drunk Muse Press in 2024, and continues to survive cancer, following diagnosis in Spring 2022.
A Co-Director of The Wee Gaitherin, dedicated to promoting contemporary poetry in Scotland through an annual festival in Stonehaven, and a newly elected Trustee of Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre, Cáit is committed to nurturing the development of fellow writers and to ensuring the democracy of the written and spoken word for all. Still with much to learn, she continues to become a poet.
Cáit can be found on Twitter at @kittyjmac
Contributions to published volumes
Cáit has contributed an essay on George Mackay Brown to Beyond the Swelkie
Cáit is the co-author of Chapter 4, The construction of belonging and Otherness in Heritage events in Heritage and Festivals in Europe: Performing Identities published in April 2021 by Routledge.
Cáit’s essay responding to the publication of the Mother and Baby Homes Report in Ireland in 2021 is included in Bella Caledonia: An Anthology of Writing from 2007-2021 (published in February 2022)