Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Sarah set for masterclass with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet

St Joseph’s High School pupil, Sarah Campbell, has been chosen to take part in a prestigious poetry masterclass at Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Derry next month.

The year 12 student has been selected from hundreds of pupils from all over the north who were invited to submit an original piece of poetry as part of the entry process to attend a writing masterclass next month with world-renowned poet Paul Muldoon.

Sarah’s poem, ‘Minstrel Maestro’ – an elegy for Irish folk hero, Luke Kelly – was one of only a handful of successful entries. 

This is not the first time the Crossmaglen student’s poetry pedigree has been recognised. Two years ago Sarah took top place in a poetry-writing competition as part of Anti-Bullying Week, receiving an award at a specially convened ceremony in Belfast for her poetic endeavours.

The talented young poet is looking forward to the exciting opportunity of being taught by the Pulitzer Prize winning Muldoon, who is an academic at the Ivy League school, Princeton University in the US. 

Sarah has the support of everyone at St Joseph’s, with staff and students extremely proud of their talented poetry ambassador.


Minstrel Maestro

A poem on Luke Kelly, Irish balladeer.

A golden copper coiffure,

Paired with hazel, earnest eyes.

A minstrel, a maestro,

An Irish revolution, yet to arise.

His voice was strong, solemn,

His banjo skill, unrivalled.

Dublin, so unaware of what was to come,

The unknowing lead in the Irish folk revival.

‘Ballad boom’ underway, 

The Dubliners in progression.

Heading into O’ Donoghue’s pub for a wee tipple,

The good craic and the session.

His melodic tuneful tone, gentle but strong,

Like the strength of November gale as it rolls.

Every word, he belted out with sheer fervour,

With his passionate, fervent soul.

A saviour of Irish folk,

Giving old ballads, a soul-stirring sound.

Himself and the Dubs toured far, 

The future and beyond, they were bound.

Year after year,

Song after song.

Health does decline over time,

He understood his time would not be long.

A tragic demise,

A funeral mustering a thousand men.

All observed, mourned,

Knowing they would never see his likes again.

His worn grave of stone,

A difficult loss, we will have to endure.

Engraved in cold stone are simple yet evoking words,

Rest well, 

‘Luke Kelly – Dubliner’.

By Sarah Campbell.