Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Friday people: Spoken-word poet, Geraldine O'Kane

Well versed: Geraldine O'Kane's first collection of poetry is out next month
Geraldine and Colin
Kurt Cobain

The 32-year-old is a spoken-word poet who will be giving pop-up performances tomorrow afternoon at Clements Cafe on both Royal Avenue and Rosemary Street, Belfast, from 2-4pm as part of the One City, One Book programme. She lives in Belfast with her partner, poet Colin Dardis.

My partner, Colin

Colin is a poet too and we actually met through poetry.

We were on the same online forum and then I started going to the same poetry readings as him and we discovered our home towns are only 10 miles apart – he's from Cookstown and I'm from Dungannon. We've been together for three and a half years now.

My best friend

My niece Rebecca is very similar to me, even though she's 22.

She is an assistant manager in Newell Stores in Dungannon and I see her when I go home every two weeks.

She's the reason I started on Facebook as I needed a way to stay in touch with her while she was at university.

My parents, Teresa McGrath and Kevin O’Kane

My mum is a retired chef and dad is a retired bartender. I'm the youngest of three sisters; there's also Mary and Kyra. They're both still in Tyrone and I see them a lot – I go home every two weeks to see everyone.

I'm very close to Mary, the oldest and we're in contact nearly every day.

I have a day job as an administrator as well as being a poet but my parents are so supportive. My mum came to my first poetry and art exhibition last year and actually cried. My dad knows nothing about poetry but keeps an eye in the news for poetry-related stories so he can talk to me about it.

Who I go to for advice

My mum is the person I go to for advice, as she's wiser than I would give her credit for. I rely on her a lot because I work full time. If I need an errand done she'll do it for me.

My secret crush is ... Adam G Sevani

He played Moose in the Step Up movies. He's kind of cute and funny and has all the dance moves. How could you not like that? And he has curly hair.

My mentor

That has to be Colin, he makes me a better writer and pushes me very hard.

He's also a stickler for grammar and reads everything for me before I send it off. I work better with Colin and it's something we enjoy doing together.

We even go to somewhere like Clements and write joint poems.

My fantasy dinner party

My first guest would be Kurt Cobain. I don't like his music at all but I've read a lot about him and I liked him as a person. I think he was interesting and genuine and our minds seem quite similar.

Next, I'd ask Samuel Beckett. He was a genius writer and if I could have words with him I would be very pleased. Next I'd ask Leonard Cohen. Again I'm not a fan of his music but love his poetry.

Finally, I'd ask Jamie Oliver to cook and to talk. I love that he talks about food so passionately. He would be good entertainment.

  • Geraldine's first collection of work, Quick Succession, will be launched on Sunday, June 15, as part of Belfast Book Festival

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