Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hallowe'en Poems and Poets Graves

A seasonal touch here on - Vampire poems, Hallowe'en poems, lists of poets' burial places, poems about the underworld etc.

The burial places list is mostly American, this Poets' Graves site is more comprehensive and even lists four Irish poets, Louis MacNeice, Carrowdore, Co. Down, Jonathan Swift, Dublin, Gerald Manley Hopkins; Dublin (Glasnevin) and W.B. Yeats, Drumcliff, Co. Sligo.

On Thursday I visited Swift's resting place in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin and tomorrow or Tuesday I hope to say hello to fellow Sligo poet at Drumcliff.

I finally found Raftery's grave near Craughwell on the recent trip to Galway. It's not signposted and easy to miss. His fellow poets and competitors, the Callanan brothers, are buried in the same graveyard.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Trip to Gort - Thoor Ballylee

And nearing Gort a visit to Thoor Ballylee is essential. Yeats' tower stands by the bridge in a dark hollow, surrounded by trees. My last few visits have all been off season when the tower is closed and has no other visitors - the best way to experience the place.

It's a wonderful cold, bleak, lonely place and you wonder how well Yeats and Georgina survived here. I'm not sure how long they actually spent here. A great place I suppose if you wanted to write then over to Lady Gregory's for afternoon tea.

Writing about the Civil War as I am at the moment I couldn't help but quote these pieces from Meditations in time of Civil War one of the great poetic sequences from Yeats' volume The Tower which was mostly written here:

An ancient bridge, and a more ancient tower,
A farmhouse that is sheltered by its wall,
An acre of stony ground,

Where the symbolic rose can break in flower,

Old ragged elms, old thorns innumerable,

The sound of the rain or sound

Of every wind that blows;

. . .
A winding stair, a chamber arched with stone,

A grey stone fireplace with an open hearth,

A candle and written page.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A barricade of stone or of wood;

Some fourteen days of civil war;

Last night they trundled down the road

That dead young soldier in his blood:

Come build in the empty house of the stare.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Viaduct Bards, Drogheda

A most enjoyable visit to the Viaduct Bards in Drogheda last Wednesday evening. A relaxed informal setting but still some pressure on our group being the visiting featured readers - especially when the hosts read their poetry first and it's very varied and very impressive. Follow that!

I didn't read the cafe poems after all and read four other older ones which I especially like and felt suitable for public reading. Fellow Boyne Writer and blogger Orla Fay has blogged about the event and included photographs here and I agree with everything she says (except the bit about feeling unworthy!).

We had a great discussion after the reading on topics like poetry, what is poetry, the place of rhyme and rhythm; do poems need introductions; what about conceptual poems, criticising poetry at meetings, Boyne Berries, publishing poetry in Ireland etc. Strong lively opinions on every side!

Among the attendance were Susan Connolly and Emer Davis, poets who have collections to their names, who have been published in Boyne Berries and been featured readers in Trim

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Trip to Gort - Another Ann Meldon Hugh Sculpture

A stop on the way to Gort last week to see this new Ann Meldon Hugh sculpture commissioned by Westmeath County Council for the N6 Motorway Kilbeggan to Athlone at the Moate Interchange. The sculpture is entitled Moategranoge. The mound on which the sculpture is placed represents the motte that gave the town of Moate its name.

The figure represents Grainne Og who gave her name to this motte. Grainne was a Munster lady who married one of the local chieftains. She took upon herself the office of Brehon and from the motte adjudicated on law cases.

The figure is of bronze and stainless steel and the motte is constructed of precast concrete covered with earth and planted with slow growing grass.

It seems a pity that it's not actually visible from the M6, you have to take the Moate exit to see it. Still another striking roadside sculpture.

Ann Meldon Hugh is based in Kells, Co Meath and has many public sculptures, especially in counties Meath and Louth, to her name.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Salmon Poetry Launch

I was in Dublin yesterday doing research (The Sligo Champion 1913 finished!!!) so I walked the few hundred metres from the National Library to the Unitarian Church for the Salmon launch. Four books were being launched, by four poets though one book was a memoir.

The venue is great, reading from a pulpit has a special quality about it. I wondered how the evening would be organised, four books, four readers had the promise of a long drawn out affair. It was anything but.

Joe Woods of Poetry Ireland welcomed us, the publisher and the poets. Jesse Lendennie of Salmon introduced each author in turn in alphabetical order. Her introductions were bright, insightful, welcoming and short. Jessie likes long unusual titles for poetry collections citing Patrick Chapman's earlier volume Breaking Hearts and Traffic Lights as a great title. Each read for about ten minutes, three or four poems, a short extract from the memoir.

The four writers are at different stages in their writing lives and displayed a range of writing and reading styles. Patrick Chapman in his fifth poetry collection The Darwin Vampires mixes the surreal and the mundane to create sad, funny meditations on memory, love and death.

Noel King's collection Prophesying the Past has poems about family members, grandparents, parents all deal with in a cool non-sentimental way. They range over a large time frame and geographical area and are written in a variety of forms including a number where the line and word arrangement adds to the effect.

Alan Jude Moore' Strasbourg is his third collection and in spite of its title it is firmly rooted in his native Dublin but reflects the way our cultural identity has widened beyond narrow nationalism to include all of Europe and beyond.

Poet Knute Skinner has published thirteen books of poetry. An American native he now lives in Clare. His memoir, Help Me to a Getaway, tells of his two year travels in the late 50s in Ireland, Denmark, England, Spain, Italy, and France as he searched for a place to spend the rest of his life writing poetry. He read an extract which involved a beautiful girl called Rosa in one of the Canary Island.

I had a dilemma. I couldn't buy the four new books - on pension, a stack of to be read at home already, overfilled bookshelves - so I had to pick one. Which? I'm actually reading with Patrick Chapman and Heather Brett in Kilmore, Cavan next week so I may get his there. I have Alan Jude Moore's Black State Cars, I prefer poetry to memoir so that ruled Knute out.

That left Noel King. We've published Noel in our magazine and the poem is included in this volume and Boyne Berries gets an acknowledgement. We're publishing a short story by him in the next issue also. We hope to have him as a featured reader in Trim early next year as well. Co Prophesying the Past it was.

Have to choose my own set of four or five poems for Drogheda reading tonight. It's in a cafe so maybe that recent set of Coffee and Scones poems might be just the ones. My TV performance still isn't online.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Boyne Writers Group in Drogheda

We're reading tomorrow night in Drogheda: Poetry in Motion in Drogheda - Wednesday October 27

The Viaduct Bards presents readings from local poets and writers on the last Wednesday of each month. This months special guests are the Boyne Writers Group from Trim. Copies of the Autumn edition of Boyne Berries will be on sale on the night.

Venue: Droichead Arts Centre - Stockwell St, Drogheda, Co Louth. Time: 7.30pm-9.30pm

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Magazine - The Moth

Rebecca O'Connor and Will Govan launched The Moth - a new arts and literature magazine - in June of this year, and issue 2 has been published containing an extract from Julia O’Faolain’s memoir and an interview with Michael Harding. Lots more including poems by Heather Brett, Colette Bryce, Kate Dempsey and one of out LitLab members, Antoinette Rock.

They are planning to launch issue 3, which will feature Anne Enright, George Szirtes, Toby Litt, Annie Freud, Paddy Campbell, Vona Groarke, Tim Wells, Martin Dyar and Matthew Sweeney, among others, in London on 16 December.

If you'd like to sample a few poems and stories, or purchase copies of the magazine, or submit work then visit the website.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The strange case of the Chrysanthemum Killer

OK, at last, the big day is here.

Programme 4 in the CSÍ series on RTE 1: Chrysanthemum Killer featuring reconstructions using a some members of Trim Drama Group and one non-member (he had a beard and was available during the day). He (me), the pathologist, is the real hero of the case.

It's on at 7.30pm tomorrow Monday and should be available on RTE Player for a few weeks afterwards.

This from the RTE website:

The summer 1946 in Athboy, Co. Meath, a young man is pronounced dead after what seems like a street fight. But the death of Larry Higgins, was it accidental? Malicious? or something stranger than fiction? CSÍ - this week investigates the strange case of a murder that never was.

Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh remembers as a child the stories about the case but where the truth began and the fiction ended she never was sure. Turning to the official records in the archives and going back to her home place, the scene of the crime, Bláthnaid reveals what really happened to Larry Higgins. She talks to the family of Dan Tom Taimín, who was sent to prison for a crime that he claimed he never committed. Where does the truth lie? This historical crime story is stranger than fiction. This the strange case of the Chrysanthemum Killer!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

National Novel Writing Month - November

Dermot Bolger joins the Irish Writers' Centre in promoting National Novel Writing Month.

The Irish Writers’ Centre is delighted to welcome award winning poet, playwright and novelist Dermot Bolger to the Centre on Friday 29th October at 2pm to kick-start National Novel Writing Month 2010. They are awarding 12 contestants the opportunity to participate in a free 2 hour Novel Writing workshop with Bolger. They will then be opening up the centre to the 12 individuals Monday to Friday for the month of November, offering a writing space and facilities.

Interested parties are invited to send an email or letter to the Irish Writers’ Centre with 100 words stating why they believe they should be chosen to participate. The Centre encourages aspiring and established writers to partake. The winning candidates will be chosen by a panel of judges made up of staff members and tutors of the Irish Writers’ Centre.

Submissions should be sent with contact emails and telephone numbers to Closing date: 26th October 2010

Grace Tierney is the the municipal liaison for National Novel Writing Month in Ireland North East (Louth, Cavan, Monaghan and Meath). The challenge is for writers of any age to write 50,000 words of a novel during the 30 days of November. This year in the 11th and there are nearly 2,000 writers participating in Ireland in this free online creative writing programme and over 100,000 worldwide.

There will also be real-world write-in meetings during the month of November in the D Hotel, Drogheda, Co Louth starting at 10am on October 31st, with regular Write-in sessions at 8pm each Sunday in November. But writers can simply register on the website and get writing. If you’ve any questions, please ask Grace: If there are enough interested writers in your own area, you can host your own write-ins during November. Just contact Grace.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Boyne Readings and Open Mic - Emer Davis

The first Boyne Readings of the autumn took place last night. A good crowd, almost twenty, including Frank from Meath Writers Group, two LitLab members from Cavan and an American who is in Trim for a year. The usual varied and interesting material, friendly banter and an excellent featured reader Emer Davis (reading above and below with chairman Paddy Smith).

Emer read old and new poems including a selection from her new collection, Kill Your Television - Episode One. This included the impressive title poem, a lovely play on "found" expressions and repetitions. Her poems are sparked off by memories of Achill where she grew up and subsequent travel between Ireland and England. Coming Home is a response to seeing a very old suitcase on a train and imagining its journey through life.

She read four striking poems from a work in progress, a collection dealing with the experience of Irish women during the second world war and she also read Requiem which we published in Boyne Berries 8.

A good start to our new season. The next event will take place on November 18.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

George Szirtes in Gort

The library in Gort is housed in the old Church of Ireland church which has memorial plaques on its wall to members of the Gregory family. This was Lady Gregory's parish church I was told and she insisted that her house guests who were non-Catholic attend service here with her. So W.B. might have worshipped there!

Last night it was another European poet, George Szirtes, who occupied the space and enthralled a reverential, knowledgeable congregation. After some wonderful music and a vigorous reading by Clare poet Patrick Stack, George took to the stage. His reading ranged over his work so far and included some new unpublished work.

His introductions led us into each poem, containing as they did thoughts on the form, the occasion and relevant biographical information. George is a fan of form in poetry and read sonnets, conzone and poems in terza rima - properly rhymed terza rima at that. His use of rhyme is a great confirmation of how effective it can be when used by a master.

I like these forms, George told us, because they can lead me to places I didn't know I was going. He also uses poetic series to a great extent - which is an excellent way of getting around the tyranny of the 40 line lyric.

He read Ross: Yellow Star from his In the Face of History: In Time of War series based on twentieth century photographs, this one by Henryk Ross. What a last line!

He read Newspapers from Flesh: An Early Family History and talked about his Hungarian origins, his move to England and his return to Budapest in 1984 which changed his life.

His most recent volume is The Burning of the Books and he read Madhouse from the title sequence which makes great use of repetition - the first nine lines each begin: The point about the madhouse is . . .

He answered questions after the reading and you got the impression that he was completely at ease and could have gone on chatting about poetry, history, Hungary all evening. Fred Johnson and the Western Writers' Centre deserve great credit for bring him to Gort.

George blogs here and no doubt will have some comments on the Gort reading. George is also on the Poetry Archive here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Emer Davis at Boyne Readings, Trim

The featured reader at the October Boyne Readings and Open Mic in Trim will be Emer Davis of the Viaduct Bards, Drogheda, who has just launched a new poetry collection, ‘Kill Your Television’.

The readings, which are organised by the Boyne Writers Group, take place this Thursday in the Village Hall of the Knightsbridge Retirement Home, Longwood Road, Trim, starting at 8pm.

‘Kill your Television’ is a collection of poems exploring love, passion, innocence, friendship, family history, betrayal, sorrow and loss in a changing landscape, from the jagged coastline of Achill Island, Co Mayo, where Emer Davis spent her childhood, to the urban decay of London and Dublin, where she lived until moving to Drogheda five years ago.

Paddy Smith, chairman of the Boyne Writers Group, says Emer’s work examines issues of women in a changing society, with vivid descriptions capturing snatches of human life.

“Her poetry is full of sensuous imagery,” he says, “and we catch a glimpse, one moment, of a lingering thought such as 'dandelion picking in summer frocks', 'a timid kiss upon the cheek', 'steel drums reverberating', 'salt cleansed her burning flesh' and 'wavering in the shimmering lights of Soho' unfolding onto the pages.”

In the Open Mic session of the evening, writers of poetry and prose will read their own work. Writers have been coming from all over Meath and from counties Longford, Louth, Dublin, Kildare and Westmeath for this series of readings, which are held on the third Thursday of the month.

Paddy Smith emphasises that the readings are open to all. Visitors are particularly welcome, whether they wish to read or not. The €5 admission includes tea/coffee and biscuits.

Monday, October 18, 2010

George Szirtes in Gort

The Western Writers' Centre - Ionad Scríbhneoirí Chaitlín Maude - Galway presents a reading by renowned Hungarian born poet, George Szirtes, on this Wednesday, October 20th, at Gort Library, Gort, Co. Galway. The reading begins at 8pm and admission is free. Clare poet and musician Patrick Stack will also take part. More here.

It's a long way to go to hear a poet reading but maybe I'll make a day of it, maybe visit Galway city as well. I've heard George read at Dun Laoghaire Poetry Now Festival a couple of years ago and nearly attended an Arvon course he was a tutor on. He is a Manchester United fan and blogs here.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Writers and Social Media

Just passing this on:

Sonas Training is running workshops specifically for writers that may be of interest .

The next workshop will be held in Carton House on October 23rd and will cover Social Media and how writers can use this free medium to their advantage. The cost of the day-long workshop - including lunch - is just €99.

The Internet is a marvellous, FREE medium that all writers can use to promote their work worldwide - no matter what kind of writing they do. Correct utilisation, however, hinges on adequate understanding of the medium. Once you know what you're doing, you'll find that you can promote yourself and your work in a whole new way.

'Social Media for Writers' will run from 10am until 6pm, and will cover the following areas of social media and how to make them work for you as a writer: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, YouTube

The focus of the workshop will be on the function and content of the different applications and how you can use them to your best advantage; this is a workshop about communication - it won't be technical!

Further details can be found on the website.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sligo's Day

Yesterday was a day full of Sligo. Did I ever mention that I'm from Sligo? In the National Library 10 - 5 reading the Sligo Champion August to December 1913 on microfilm. Not just reading of course, researching. That means looking for and noting or photocopying what could be important for the book and ignoring all the other interesting bits - the court cases of assaults, neglect of children by mothers, neglect of wives by husbands, the beginnings of the setting up a medical system to deal with TB, the complaints of medical neglect, the sports reports.

The air is of waiting for the Home Rule Bill to make its slow way through the British Parliament and come into effect in 1914. A parliament for Ireland in Dublin at last! Poor things had no idea what was going to happen - the Great War, 1916 Rising, War of Independence, partition, the civil war.

Well, partition was in the air and the paper was full of the argument about Ulster. Sligo Protestants were vocal in their opposition to Home Rule and a lively debate was taking place about tolerance and intolerance in Sligo, Ulster and the rest of Ireland.

Then on to Dalymount Park for the FAI cup semi-final, Sligo Rovers against Bohs. We lost last year's final on a wet, windy cold November day in Tallaght. This year's final will be the first in the new Aviva stadium. We arrive early (of course) at the stadium and find Sligo supporters are being sent (I avoid the use of the word "herded") to the small stand behind the goal - that must be what Philip Greene used to call the Tramway End. There is an open stand on the other side but no-one is allowed in there.

Not the greatest place to watch a match from but the large group of Sligo supporters make the best of it and out-sing and out-chant the rivals. Especially when Sligo actually play the better football and seem more likely to score. We have a great view of two great first half saves by Bohs keeper.

In the second half most of the play is at the far end from us and we don't get a good view of the Sligo winning goal. A one-nil win for Sligo and off to the Aviva. How much will tickets cost? I got in for fifteen euro last night and could have got in for ten if I said I was an OAP. Pride and truth is more important than five euro though!

It was a very good match and the standard of football was high. The Irish Times website at the moment has the match report at 8th in its Soccer section - disgraceful! It leads with some tired story about buying and selling a foreign football club. The Irish Independent has it at number two in its Soccer section from which the photo above is taken of Gavin Peers scoring the winning goal.

The Sligo Champion of 1913 was also very critical of the Irish Times but for different reasons.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Clonfert Cathedral

On the way to Dromineer last Friday I wandered off the direct route. I was far too early, the tail backs, accidents, bad weather, diversions I allowed for (and always allow for) didn't happen so driving through west Offaly I was tempted to cross the Shannon into Connacht at Banagher. I went to look for Clonfert Cathedral.

I knew that this, especially its twelfth century Hiberno-Romanesque doorway, is one of the most impressive mediaeval buildings in the country, had studied it on paper in 1969 in UCD so it was time to actually visit it.

Not easy to find, not many signposts and nowadays there are very few people walking or cycling on these smaller back roads. Those that are seem always to be talking on mobile phones. The person I asked interrupted her conversation and gave precise directions. It was worth the visit.

What's so impressive and unexpected is the scale. This is a small cathedral with a small west doorway. But what an impressive doorway it is with the human heads and triangles regularly arranged above. The six orders of the doorway have more human heads and animal heads and various geometric and plan like patters. The inner order with the carvings of clerics or saints is in limestone and is fifteenth century.

The famous St Brendan the Navigator is said to have founded the monastery on this site and to be buried there.

That's two Church of Ireland Cathedrals in the one week.

Off to watch Sligo Rovers in the cup semi-final in Dalymount tonight (Friday).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Spirits of Meath Halloween Festival

Be careful the rest of the country, Meath appears to be taking ownership of Hallowe'en. This follows its successful take over Irish pre-history (Newgrange etc) and Celtic Ireland (Tara etc). [Did "The Celts" ever really exist or are they a Bord Fáilte invention?]

Anyway from October 22nd - 31st 2010 County Meath is bringing you Ireland's biggest and most electrifying Halloween Festival!!

See the launch video on YouTube.

This is what they say:
Samhain, the ancient Celtic Festival that we now call Halloween, originated here in Co. Meath more than 2,000 years ago. Samhain marks the end of the old Celtic Year and the beginning of the New Year. The Celts believed that this was a time of transition, when the veil between our world and the next came down, and the spirits of all who had died since the last Oíche Shamhna (Night of Samhain) moved on to the next life.

One of the main spiritual centres of the ancient Celts was located on top of the hill of Tlachtga, now called the Hill of Ward, near Athboy, Co. Meath. The druids felt that this world and the otherworld were closest at Tlachtga and it was here that the festival of Samhain, or Halloween, was started. The old year’s fires were extinguished and, after sunset, the ceremonial New Year Samhain fire was lit here. Torches were lit from this sacred fire and carried to seven other hills around the county including Tara and Loughcrew, and then on to light up the whole countryside.

The full programmes is here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kill Your Television - Episode One

The Viaduct Bards invites you to the launch of Kill Your Television - Episode One: Poems by Emer Davis at Droichead Arts Centre café/bar, Drogheda on Thursday 14 October 2010 at 8pm.

Emer will read several poems from her book with an introduction by poet John O’Rourke and music from Kevin Brannigan.

Kill your Television is a collection of poems exploring love, passion, innocence, friendship, family history, betrayal, sorrow and loss in a changing landscape, from the jagged coastline of Achill Island, Co Mayo where Emer spent her childhood to the urban decay of London and Dublin where she lived until moving to Drogheda five years ago.

Issues concerning women in a changing society are examined with vivid descriptions capturing snatches of human life.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dromineer Literary Festival 2

Yesterday morning I attended the Dromineer poetry workshop with Dave Lordan (above). I've attended a number of workshops by poets and they've all be different and all very useful. This was great. A small number, five enthusiastic, skilled, energetic, frank poets took part. The prose workshop next door seemed to have an enormous number of participants - poetry really is a minority interest - all the better for that!

I'm not going to describe the workshop blow by blow - too tired and too busy writing - but just give a flavour. Dave stressed reading poetry and asked us at various stages to read poems our own and others. He started with Rita Ann Higgins, Rumi and Charles Bukowski stressing their use of plain language and direct speech. We read, Dave questioned, we commented.

He stressed that in the present economic climate, as they say, there may be fewer poetry books published but there is a growth in the number of open mics and slam events for poets and he encouraged us to take advantage of these and develop our reading styles. We read poems of our own and the others commented on our readings.

He encouraged participation in writers groups, small publications - chapbooks, magazines - and open mic sessions.

Random Thoughts from the workshop:

Avoid at all costs the neat epiphany or message at the end of a poem. The poet has no answers, nobody has any answers. If the last two lines contain the answer or the moral why bother with the rest of the poem?

Be careful of the dictatorship of the 40 line one page lyric. Attempt longer poems and sequences. What about a verse novel? See Nessa O'Mahony's In Sight of Home.

Avoid introductions to poems; get straight to the heart of the matter.

It might be useful to look on a poem as a musical score for a voice. A test of a good poem - Does it sound right?

A poem should be allowed find its own organic form.

Other poets mentioned during the workshop: John Ashbury, Tomas Tranströmer, Ron Silliman; Rae Armantrout; Barry MacSweeney; William Blake; John Milton.

PennSound is the best online source of readings of poetry.

Below: Group photo: prizewinners, judges, organisers etc at the Dromineer official opening.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dromineer Literary Festival 1.

Drove to Dromineer yesterday to collect my highly commended certificate, two actually. Well worth going for the great welcome, I was remembered from two years ago when I took second prize, met old and new friends and heard and talked much about writing and poetry.

I met both the first and second poetry prizewinners earlier this year, Connie Roberts at the Poetry Ireland Introductions and Richard Halperin at the Goldsmith Festival and the iYeats Competition. Richard has just had his first volume of poetry published by Salmon. Connie won second prize in the Patrick Kavanagh Competition in 2007 and Geraldine Mitchell won the Patrick Kavanagh in 2008 and has had a book published. Tough competition indeed. Fellow Boyne Writer Evan Costigan was also Highly Commended.

Opening ceremony and prizegiving in Dromineer last evening. The usual capacity crowd in the impressive venue, the yacht club. Interesting speeches stressing the difficult times for the arts as regards funding but also being positive as regards the importance of the arts in these times.

There were prizes for under age poetry competitions and the winning entries were read by the judge Mary Arrigan. Then the senior prizewinners were announced by judges David Rice (prose) and Dave Lordan (poetry). Both judges spoke of the process.

Dave Lordan spoke of the need for poets to speak that which is not otherwise heard and that which is not expected to be said. He was generous in his praise of the highly commended poems saying it was important that good entries be noticed and that these poets be encouraged to continue to write.

He commented on each of the prizewinners saying of Richard Halperin's something like My head didn't understand it but my heart/soul did. He praised Connie Roberts winning poem for dealing with a difficult subject in a direct way, full of righteous anger.

The highly commended each got a copy of Dave Lordan's most recent book of poetry - nice touch!

Photos: First and second prize winners being presented with their prizes by John Kennedy, Mayor of North Tipperary.

Short Story
1. The Birthday Invitation by Sharon Black, Sandymount, Dublin.
2. Whatever Happens by Frances Browner, Greystones, Wicklow.
3. The Train by Mike Roycroft, Nenagh, Tipperary.

1. Litany by Connie Roberts, New York.
2. Blue Day by Richard W Halperin, Paris.
3. Typewritten by Geraldine Mitchell, Louisburgh, Mayo.

Highly Commended Poets:
David McLoughlin, Castleconnell, Limerick. (2)
Richard W Halperin, Paris (2)
Michael Farry, Trim, Meath. (2)
Marie Coveney, Monkstown, Cork.
John Walsh, Inverin, Galway.
Patrick Maddock, New Ross, Wexford.
Nichola Griffin, Caher, Clare.
Evan Costigan, Moyvalley, Kildare.
Mae Newman, Rathfarnham, Dublin.

Friday, October 8, 2010

All Ireland Poetry Day - Meath and Cavan

A hectic delightful day, full of little surprises. Three pm reading in the By the Book bookshop in Virginia. Myself and Honor Duff of LitLab (above) were joined by James Fitzsimons and by Evan Costigan of Boyne Writers and we read and recited a number of poems to the shoppers and browsers.

Then back to Kells where Eamon Cooke (reading above) and Kells Arts club had organised tea, coffee, sandwiches and a reading in the Resource Centre. A good appreciative audience many of whom read their own work or favourite poems.

And finally to Chapter 1 Cafe in Cavan where our LitLab group read as part of the Cafe Sessions series. Our support act was Country blues singer Kevin Sweeney who put on a great show. Irene O'Dea (above) started off with a poem specially written for the event and six members of the group read a wide variety of material. Members of the audience and special guests contributed as well. A good crowd, quiet, attentive and a very enjoyable end to a very busy day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

All Ireland Poetry Day - Meath 1

Cathedral reading for all Ireland Poetry Day went very well. A spectacular venue and a bigger group than last year with Boyne Writers Group and Meath Writers circle well represented. A great variety of poems and poets - the well-known, the just written, the serious, the funny, the satirical.
Above myself, below Jenny Andersson reading.

Thanks to Dean Robert Jones and all involved.

One event down, three to go. Now where do I have to go next?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

All Ireland Poetry Day

A busy day tomorrow - All Ireland Poetry Day.

Boyne Writers have two readings St Patrick's Cathedral, Trim at noon and The Resource Centre, Kells at 5pm. LitLab Cavan/Meath group also have two, 3pm in the Buy a Book bookshop, Virginia Shopping Centre and 8pm in Chapter 1 Cafe, Cavan town.

What to read in the Cathedral. A special venue deserves some special thought. Last year the Dean Rev Robert Jones started the proceedings by reading Diary of a Church Mouse by John Betjeman - a great choice. I'll bring a copy this year and read it if he doesn't.

And as a contrast I'll also read the wonderful Church Going by Philip Larkin.

I also have those three poems of mine about serving Mass and the one about the Christ and the Ass carving in the Victoria and Albert Museum. They should suit.

The 8pm in the cafe needs a bit of thought. Those new ones about coffee and scones might just be the thing - a bit lighthearted, a chuckle factor even!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Crannog Poetry Magazine says No

Boyne Berries 8 published, material selected for Boyne Berries 9 so what about issue 10? We have been discussing how to mark this milestone and have a few ideas. More later.

Crannog poetry magazine, Galway, have reached a milestone, issue 25 will be published in October and they aim to make this one a special celebratory issue. It would be nice to have a poem in it but alas I got a very nice rejection email at the week-end. Very similar to the ones I sent out a little while ago actually.

So when you get a rejection what do you do? Submit to another magazine or enter another competition straight away of course. Entries for the Troubadour International Poetry Prize close soon. I've never entered this one so I'll give it a go. One of the judges is Irish though that probably makes no difference. You can email the entry and post the fee. They accept euro cheques which many UK competitions don't.

Also closing soon are the Francis Ledwidge competition and the Plough Prize (UK). I've been commended in the Ledwidge twice so maybe this will be the year and I've been shortlisted in the Plough once or twice so I'll think about entering that also.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Boyne Berries 8 Cover

This is the cover of Boyne Berries 8 once again by Greg Hastings based this time on his photograph from Glendalough, Co Wicklow - a striking cover as usual.

Boyne Writers member Orla Fay has photographs from the launch on her blog.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Boyne Berries 8 Launched

Launch went very well - picture above. Crowd of about 50 there, writers, friends, relations, interested onlookers, potential Writers Group members etc. We had about seventeen contributors who read a great variety of work, poetry, story, comment, satire, all very well received by the audience.

Noel French ( pictured below with me at the launch) of Meath Heritage Centre officially launched the issue and spoke of the importance of the magazine and the Writers Group to the town and to individuals. He said that gatherings like this were vital to practitioners of what is a minority interest. He complimented the group on the variety of material in the issue and the geographical spread of the contributors.

Envelopes addressed to those who couldn't attend and copies of our little magazine will be on their way to India, Canada, USA, Italy and many parts of the UK and Ireland tomorrow. A good number of magazines sold - important to recoup outlay. The magazine section on the website has been updated and some material from the issue included.

You can buy a copy by using the PayPal button on the website.