Breda Joyce wins Aronson contest

Anne and Vivien Ridler, as photographed by Judith Aronson, in a moment celebrated in Breda Joyce’s poem

Congratulations to MA student Breda Joyce whose poem, “Free Fall” was selected as the winner of a creative writing contest in association with Likenesses: Portraits of Literary and Cultural Genius, an exhibition by American photographer and academic Judith Aronson, which was on touring display in the Boole Library earlier this semester. 

The exhibition was accompanied by Aronson’s book, also called Likenesses, in which the subjects of the photographs, often writers and artists, wrote about one another.  Inspired by this, UCC students were  invited to write a piece in response to one of Aronson’s photographs. 

Breda Joyce

Aronson has been taking photographs of writers, academics and artists for over 30 years. LIKENESSES explores the intimate and ranging relationship between photographer and subject in a series of double portraits, where the sitters are also related  Novelists Saul Bellow and Salman Rushdie, poets Seamus Heaney, Greg Delanty and Derek Walcott, actors Ralph Richardson and Joan Plowright are among the people Judith has photographed.

In her poem, Breda chose to focus on an image of the late scholar and Printer to Oxford University, Viven Ridler and his wife, the poet Anne Bradby. 

Free Fall

(response to photo of Anne and Vivian Ridler, Oxford 1994)


All week they had been harvesting what they planted,

moving among a labyrinth of fruit bushes and hedges.

Today they are at ease while Sunday sun plays

upon their faces. Anne points heavenwards

as if an English sky could call down Daedalus

to fashion wings and carry them above the limits

of these garden walls; that they might soar together

beyond a telescopic lens to where the earth

lies open, ripe and ready to welcome them in free fall.

Breda Joyce