Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Christmas

The outdoor crib at St Patrick's Church, Trim.

And here's a Christmas Song from Bob. Brilliant!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Poems

A great selection of Christmas poetry on the Poetry Foundation website. I particularly liked the two pdfs you can print out to hang on the fridge, wall, or tree. Quite a contrast: “Picture of a Nativity” by Geoffrey Hill and “Sonnet in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree” by George Starbuck,
pictured above.

Also worth listening to is the Poetry off the Shelf podcast from the Poetry Foundation for Christmas called Poems to Fight Against the Dark

Thursday, December 19, 2013

North West Words Poetry Prize Shortlist

At the night of my recent reading at North West Words in Donegal, last year's winner of the Donegal Creameries North West Words Poetry Prize, Averil Meehan, returned the trophy. Picture: Averil receiving the trophy last year.

The shortlist for this year's competition has just been announced:

Connie Roberts, USA, Pallas Lake
Gavan Duffy, Dublin, Breakdown
Ann O’Connell, Sligo, The Reek
Monica Corish, Leitrim, Back Where We Started      
Winifred McNulty, Donegal, Lloyd’s Lighthouse
Ellen Factor, Derry, Lovebirds
Guy Stephehson, Donegal, Veldtshoen
Edward O’Dwyer, Limerick, Texting God
Patrick Hull, Dublin, Windowseat
Brendan Kinnane, Dublin, Hammers
Bogusia Wardein, Poland, The First Letters of the Alphabet
Maurice Keady, Dublin, A Century of Poppies
Clare O’Reilly, Kildare, Bog Woman
Eithne Reynolds, Dublin, The Shed

Some very well-known names in there!

Winners will be notified in January and all shortlisted writers and winners are warmly invited to attend the prize-giving at North-West Words at 8.00pm on 30 January 2014, in Café Blend, High Road, Letterkenny.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Manchester Writing for Children Prize

Under the direction of Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy – Professor of Contemporary Poetry and Creative Director of the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University – the school is launching the brand new Manchester Writing for Children Prize.

The Prize is open internationally to both new and established writers aged 16 or over (there is no upper age limit) and invites the submission of a portfolio of poetry to be read by children within the age group of five to 12.

Portfolios should contain three to five poems, totalling no more than 120 lines. The entry fee is £12 per portfolio of poems.

Prizes include: Publication of selected pieces from long-listed entrants in a new anthology; an invitation to appear alongside Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy at a special event at the 2014 Manchester Children's Book Festival for the short-listed entrants; and a cash prize of £2,000 for the overall winner – to be announced at that event.

Details on the website where you can enter online or download a printable entry form for postal submission.

Deadline for entries: 28 February 2014. Judges: Mandy Coe, Imtiaz Dharker and Philip Gross (pictured above).

Saturday, December 14, 2013

North West Words Poetry Reading

Last Thursday night's poetry reading in Café Blend, Letterkenny was one of the most enjoyable readings I've been at for some time. This North West Words Arts Night is a monthly event.

The venue is great, a nice size, a raised area for the performers, plenty of
Christmas decorations, lovely food, a sound system which worked perfectly, a most welcoming and efficient organising committee and a large and really lovely audience.

I followed Eoin, a brilliant saxophonist, who performs under the name Bob Bond and appeared on the recent Late Late Toy Show and I was followed by singers and musicians, Claire and Niamh Cuffe, also a lot younger than me so I felt under pressure to represent the talent of the more elderly.

I read for about twenty minutes, a selection of older poems and some new ones. The audience was great, reacting well to the humour and to the sadness which featured in the poems. I read my poem for my late sister, Ann, who once worked in Letterkenny as a telephonist. I also read a very recent one about my just arrived Australian grandson.

I met a number of writers we had included in Boyne Berries and some I have met at prize givings, readings and festivals here and there in the country. I got good feedback on my reading and sold a large number of Asking for Directions. Thanks Letterkenny!

The open mic was most enjoyable. We had a very funny version of a well known poem re-titled The Fright before Christmas and we ended with a Robert Frost poem, Stopping by Woods, read by a relation of the Georgian poet Lascelles Abercrombie who was a friend of Frost.

Letterkenny is a town well worth a visit. It has a great little second-hand bookshop called Universal Books and the Catholic Cathedral is a fine building designed by the same architect who designed Trim church, William Hague. The altars in both churches are also by the Pearses.

I've taken the composite picture above from the North West Word Facebook page. I'm in the background of the middle top picture. Thanks again to all for the great welcome and hospitality.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Poetry Reading in Letterkenny

I'm really looking forward to reading at North West Words at Café Blend in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal tomorrow, Thursday 12 December at 8pm. This Christmas special will also feature music and song (not by me) by Bob Bond and by Clare and Niamh Cuffe.

Admission is free; there is an open mic and there will be prizes. North West Words on Facebook here.

I'll have to look up my few Christmas poems and choose others that fit in with the holiday mood.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Francis Ledwidge International Poetry Awards Ceremony

The Francis Ledwidge International Poetry  Awards Ceremony 2013 will take place at Donoghues The Glen of Aherlow, 29 Emmet Road, Inchicore, Dublin on next Tuesday 10 December at 8.00 pm.  All are welcome.

This year, the fifteenth year of the competitions, there were entries from  Canada, U.S.A, U.K. and Ireland.

This is always a very enjoyable evening, a very friendly atmosphere and great poetry. Last year we celebrated a victory by a Boyne Writer, Evan Costigan. This year we are delighted that a LitLab member, Mairéad Donnellan, is the winner. And member Pat Devaney was commended as well!

The Francis Ledwidge Award goes to Mairead Donnellan, Co. Cavan for her poem, Castlewellan Pillar Box. Second Place goes to Catherine Ann Cullen, Dublin 12 for The Shoe-Box Coffin, and  third Place goes to Mary Guckian, Dublin 4 for Corsets.

Highly Commended were: Neville Keery, Mary Turley Mc Grath, Adrienne Leavy, Elizabeth O’ Carroll, Louise Scott, Claire O Reilly, Liam Ryan, Susan Flynn, Kevin Murtagh and Davnet Heery.

Commended were: Ray Mullen, Patrick Conniff, James Conway, Anne Mc Crudden, Aine Lyons, Patrick Devaney, Willie Joe Meally, Patrick Waters, Gearoid De Briotan and Ian Harman.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Doire Press Anthology Launch

Doire Press have made quite an impression in the recent past with their publication of many significant prose and poetry volumes.

These include Deirdre Unforgiven, a dramatic work by Eamon Carr, End of Days, a debut short story collection by Aileen Armstrong, Consent, Kimberly Campanello’s debut poetry collection and Adam White’s collection Accurate Measurements which was shortlisted for the this year’s Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

Doire Press launch their Fiction & Poetry Chapbook Anthology on Sunday 8 December, 7pm in Jack Nealon's Pub in Capel Street, Dublin.

The launch will feature readings by Alvy Carragher, Maurice Devitt, Mairead Donnellan, Susan Flynn, Paddy Halligan, Robert Higgins, Maeve Mulrennan, Máire T. Robinson and Shane Ward.

Two of our LitLab members, Mairéad Donnellan and Paddy Halligan, are included as a result of their collections being shortlisted for the Doire Press poetry and fiction competitions.

Well done!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Prole Laureate Poetry Competition

The 2014 Prole Laureate poetry competition is now open for entries.

Prizes: Winner: £140, Publication in Prole 13 in April 2014. Publication on the Prole website.
Two runner up prizes of £30, possible publication in Prole 13. Publication on the Prole website

Judgeis Kate Noakes. Kate is an elected member of the Welsh Academi. She has taught creative writing for Oxford University. Her most recent collection is Cape Town from Eyewear Publishing (2012). I-spy and Shanty is forthcoming in 2014 from corrupt press. Her poem ‘Snow light’ was selected by Carol Ann Duffy for her Poetry Corner in The Daily Mirror in January 2010. She won the Owen Barfield Poetry Prize in 2009.

Competition entries open from Oct 7th 2013 to Feb 1st 2014. Winners will be announced in issue 13 of Prole in April and on the website by April 20th.

Fees: £3.00 for first entry, £2.00 for any subsequent entries.

Preferred entry via the website and email. Fee can be paid by PayPal.

Issue 12 of Prole magazine has just gone on sale and the group has just launched Wendy Pratt’s first poetry collection: Museum Pieces. Details on the website.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Magma’s 2013 Poetry Competition

The closing date for Magma’s 2013 Poetry Competitions is 12 December 2013.

Magma Judge’s Prize:
For a poem of 13 to 80 lines. All poem entries of 13 to 80 lines will be entered for the Judge’s Prize which this year will be judged by award-winning poet Philip Gross. Philip Gross is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Glamorgan.  He won the 2009 T S Eliot Prize with The Water Table (Bloodaxe) and the 2010 Wales Book of the Year award with I Spy Pinhole Eye (Cinnamon).

First Prize £1,000; Second Prize £300; Third Prize £150

Magma Editors’ Prize
This celebrates the short poem and is open to poems of up to 12 lines. The Magma Editors’ Prize reflects the magazine’s unique rotating editorship and poems of up to 12 lines will be judged by a panel of Magma Editors comprising Julia Bird, Rob Mackenzie, Ian McEwen, Laurie Smith and Karen McCarthy Woolf. The panel will select a range of poems for ‘special mentions’ as well as choosing first and s
econd prize winners.

First prize £1,000; Second Prize £300; Plus 10 Special Mentions £15 each

As part of the prize, all 15 winners will have their poems published in our Spring Issue 2014 and be invited to read alongside Philip Gross at Magma’s prize-giving event early next year.

The Magma website has full details and online entry.