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Where Is Home? A Conversation with a Poet: Pádraig Ó Tuama


Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet, theologian, and traveler who writes extensively about language, power, conflict and religion. Ó Tuama is the master storyteller and host of On Being’s Poetry Unbound. Previously, he was the leader of the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organization.  He will talk with Sara Jamshidi about poetry, God, sexual orientation, words, prayers and finding a home in the world.


In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World


By Pádraig Ó Tuama


Borders and Belonging: The Book of Ruth: A Story for Our Times

By Pádraig Ó Tuama and Glenn Jordan


For Ó Tuama, religion, conflict, power and poetry all circle around language, that original sacrament. In the context of public theology, he takes the received form of biblical texts and explores the civic and artistic dynamics of language, narrative and impact in these stories.

His work has won acclaim in circles of conflict analysis, politics, religion, poetry and psychotherapy. His storytelling, poetry, and writing have been featured on The Moth, TEDx Talks, America, the BBC, and The Spirit of Things. A compelling speaker, he travels widely. Ó Tuama lives in Belfast, Ireland.


Imagining Peace | Pádraig Ó Tuama | TEDxStormont


The Pedagogy of Conflict

Pádraig Ó Tuama


When I was a child,
I learnt to lie.

When I was a child
my parents said that sometimes,
lives are protected
by an undetected
light lie of

When I was a child,
I learnt to lie.

Now, I am more than twenty five
and I’m alive
because I’ve lied
and I am lying still.

it’s the only way of living.



When I was a child
I learnt that I could stay alive
by obeying certain

let your anger cool before you
blossom bruises on your brother’s shoulder;

always show your manners at the table;

always keep the rules and never question;

never mention certain things to certain people;

never doubt the reasons behind
legitimate aggression;

if you compromise or humanise
you must still even out the score;

and never open up the door.
Never open up the door.
Never, never, never open up the blasted door.

When I was a child,
I learnt that I could stay alive
by obeying certain rules.
Never open up the door.



When I was a child,
I learnt to count to five
one, two, three, four, five.
but these days, I’ve been counting lives, so I count

one life
one life
one life
one life
one life

because each time
is the first time
that that life
has been taken.

Legitimate Target
has sixteen letters
and one

“The Pedagogy of Conflict” Originally published in Sorry for your Troubles (Canterbury Press, 2013). Copyright © 2013 by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Reprinted with the permission of the poet.




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Interview with Pádraig Ó Tuama for Peacemindedly Podcast

(Will be live Feb. 19)




YouTube Raw Footage of Conversation between Pádraig Ó Tuama and Sara Jamshidi for Peacemindedly Podcast

(Will be live Feb. 19)





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