By Ian McElhinney
May & October 1999
Considered by many as the grandfather of the much-vaunted Ulster renaissance in literature, John Hewitt was a poet, a political and cultural thinker, a reviewer, an arts gallery administrator and the main advocate of the idea of northern regionalism. It was these cultural and political stances which were to lead to the poet’s isolation and eventual self-exile at the hands of a suspicious unionist establishment.
He was a Colossus – a Protestant, republican, regionalist and self-styled man of the left. In Belfast in the fifties, Hewitt was pitted against the conservatism of the Ulster establishment.
The Green Shoot presents the journey that led him to England, from the country he loved, and back again.
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