Monday, September 30, 2019

Bailieborough Shortlist

The shortlist for the Bailieborough Poetry Competition has just been announced. The judge was Cavan Writer in Residence, Anthony J Quinn. Congratulations to the shortlisted poets.
The prize giving event and the readings will be held on next Saturday 5 October as part of the Bailieborough Poetry Festival in the Library Arts Space at 2.30pm.
The shortlist in no particular order:
Christopher James - Janus.
Giles Newington - Dynamic Me.
John D Kelly - The Missing Piece.
Orla Fay - The Member of the Wedding.
Ruth Quinlan - Eczema Herpeticum in The Limerick Regional
Eugene Platt - Thank You Note to my New Wife’s Late Husband.
Anne Tannam - I’ll admit to.
Kate Ennals - Drafting a Poem in my Mother’s Old Diary.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

LitLab Anthology - Where You May Find Yourself

It's exciting when a large parcel arrives, especially when that parcel contains the just printed copies of your writers group latest anthology.

This morning copies of Where You May Find Yourself arrived and they look great. The work on this anthology has been going on over the last few months. We submitted poems to Anthony J Quinn, Cavan Writer in Residence who agree to edit the publication. He chose the poems to include, suggested a title and a cover image. There was some agonizing over commas and capitals and last lines but eventually all was agreed and sent to the printer.

The finished product looks great and Anthony has written a most interesting preface. "The LitLab writers, I have to say, are one of the least Keatsian collection of poets you are likely to meet, and I mean that in the best possible way. The poems in this anthology carry the wisdom and good-natured humour of longevity. They concentrate a lifetime of thinking and being." 

"These are poems by mature writers that aren’t an escape into the past but a means of slowing down and re-seeing the present, making this anthology a wonderful counter-balance to the quick thrills of social media and the internet."

This is the fourth anthology of members’ work. Previous anthologies were, Under A Thrupenny Moon, edited by Barbara Smith, in 2013, Between the Lines, edited by Julia Rice O’Dea, in 2015, and Frank Miller Stole my Girl, edited by Noel Monahan, in 2017.

Some of the poems included in this collection were first published in Poetry Ireland Review, The North, Crannóg, Stony Thursday Book and The Cormorant.

Some poems won prizes or were shortlisted in these competitions: Edgeworth Poetry Prize 2018, Padraic Colum Gathering Poetry competition 2018, Ledwidge Society Poetry Prize 2017 and Ilkley Poetry Competition 2017.

The cover photo is of Richard Cyril Duff, a Customs and Excise officer, father of LitLab member Honor Duff, at the Leitrim-Fermanagh border in the late 1920s.

The anthology will be launched at Bailieborough Poetry Festival on Friday 4 October and copies will be on sale there. It will also be possible to buy copies online on the festival site.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Bray Poetry Competition - The Winner

I'm obviously delighted to have won the Bray Poetry Competition 2019 and to have read the poem at the Culture Night event in Bray on Friday 20 September. Thanks to the organizers who did such a fine job of organisation, notifying those long- and shortlisted and publicizing those and the results. 

Thanks also to the judge, Nessa O'Mahony, for picking out my poem from the more than 200 entered. These competitions are judged anonymously and when entering I replaced two local Sligo placenames  in the original with more generic placenames just in case.

Well done to those on the long and short lists and especially to the other prizewinners, Mark Ward who got second and the joint thirds, Evan Costigan and Catherine Ann Cullen.

I've entered lots of competitions and judged one or two. There are those who talk about a "competition poem", as if a particular style or form is more likely to win. I don't really accept that, having seen the variety of winners in various competitions over the years.

My Bray winning poem was sent out previously twelve times, to competitions and journals and only got longlisted once before. All this means is that it didn't meet the standards of all those other judges which is quite understandable. If you believe a poem is good enough, keep sending it out. I did enter two other poems in the Bray competition and they failed utterly. A special mention of Catherine Anne Cullen who had two poems in the final shortlist of six - quite an achievement!

Having won this competition the poem isn't eligible for most other poetry competitions but is available to submit to journals and magazines as long as it is not published online. Bray have a policy of not publishing winners on their website to allow this.

Bray Literary Festival 2019 takes place next weekend, 27-29 September and the full and varied programme is well worth checking out online.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Poetry Competition Anthologies

I've just been reading my copy of What the Peacock Replied, the anthology of the winners and shortlisted poems from the Single Poem category of the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize 2019, with poems by Dawn Gorman (winner of the Pamphlet Category); Fiona Cartwright (1st Prize); Terry Jones; (2nd Prize); Steven Jackson (3rd Prize) and over 40 other poets.

This competition is an annual event organized by the wonderful Dempsey and Windle team, publishers, poets, event and competition organizers, based in Guilford, UK.

There is an introduction by the judge, Anna Saunders in this case, with general comments and comments on the prizewinning works.

It's most interesting to see the range and variety of the poems chosen. There is no suggestion here that the judge favoured a single style or form of poetry. Poems rhyme or not, are formal or free even experimental, long and short - the shortest a great four line poem by John Bevan. Poems reference popular culture or classical works and authors - Facebook, Barbie, Penelope, Edward Hopper. Some poems even have explanatory subtitles.

My shortlisted poem included in the anthology is The Friary Bell one of those based on the Blackfriary archaeology dig in Trim. Inclusion in the anthology and a free copy was one of the attractions of the competition.

It is important for competition organizers to state clearly in the rules if winning and shortlisted poems are to be published. If they are it rules them out of other competitions and publications. In our Bailieborough Poetry Competition the rules clearly state "The shortlisted poems may be published on the Bailieborough Poetry Festival website" and they usually are.

In the Trim Festival Competition earlier this year we didn't include any such note so when we decided to include the shortlisted poems in the forthcoming Boyne Berries journal we had to ask permission of the authors. I think most agreed. Boyne Berries 26 will be launched on Thursday 3 October.

Next year we intend to state from the start that shortlisted poems will be published in Boyne Berries.

I see the Cathal Bui competition in Belcoo have also published a small anthology of shortlisted poems for their competition, 2019 CATHALBUI POETRY COMPETITION COLLECTION. In this case this wasn't made clear at the beginning so some shortlisted poets aren't included. I had no problem allowing my shortlisted Vertigo at Killadoon to be included.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Poetry Competitions

I'm lucky to be shortlisted in two poetry competitions at the moment, The Bangor Poetry Competition and the Bray Festival Poetry Competition.

The Bray prize-giving ceremony is on Culture Night, Friday 20th, at 7.30 pm in Bray Town Hall where the three winners will be announced. There are only six poems in the Bray shortlist which makes it even more special having one among them.

The 15 shortlisted poems in the Bangor, Co Down, competition will be on display at The Blackberry Path Art Studios in Bangor Co Down from Thursday 25th September until Sunday 29th September 2019 as part of Aspects Irish Literary Festival and will be voted on by the public during the exhibition.

Winner, runner up and placed poets will be revealed at The Bangor Literary Journal Launch at Fealty’s Back Bar Wed 2nd Oct 7-9 pm.

In both cases shortlisted poets are invited to read at the events. Both these competitions also have good online presences and have publicized the shortlistings and events very well. There are other competitions where entrants struggle to find out if there is a shortlist and who has made the shortlist. This in spite of having paid a not inconsequential entrance fee.

It's always nice to be shortlisted, it means someone has picked out your work from among many many good entries. Having judged a number of poetry competitions, sometimes with others, I realize how much depends on the judges own taste and preferences. So thanks to the judges and organizers in these two competitions and well done to all those shortlisted.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Skylight 47 Launch of Issue 12

I attended the launch of Skylight 47 in Galway on Sunday evening. It was a most enjoyable event, a large audience, lots of great readings and tea, coffee and cakes.

This was issue 12 of the newspaper style poetry publication. I was delighted to have a poem accepted for this special issue. For the first time there was a theme - Language, Landscape, and Migration)- and my poem fitted in under language.

The issue also included a supplement with space for unpublished writers, individuals or writing groups based in Galway City or County.

Skylight 47 has always shown an interest in writing groups and published a regular feature on groups from around the country, our group, Boyne Writers, was featured in one issue. This time they worked especially with some groups from Galway city and county as part of their Let the Stories be Told project helped by funding under the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture Small Towns Big Ideas project. Three such groups got special assistance and facilitator time.

The three editors, Bernie Crawford, Ruth Quinlan and Nicki Griffin, are to be congratulated on their work in planning and carrying out the project and on the finished journal which is a delight to read.

My poem, which I read at the launch, concerns the word "Terminus" which I used when taking grandchildren to the end of the Luas line. An interesting word especially to an older person who has for one reason and another been visiting a number of medical establishments in the past couple of years.

More pictures from the launch on the Facebook page. You can buy the issue on the Skylight 47 site here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Bailieborough Poetry Festival 2019

Bailieborough Poetry Festival takes place on the weekend of October 3 – 5, 2019.

Bailieborough Poetry Competition closing date is this Friday, 6 September. Details here.

Thursday 3 October will see the official opening at 7pm in Bailieborough Library of the festival and of the collaboration between LitLab writers and Virginia artist Jim McPartlin.

On Friday 4 October LitLab's latest poetry anthology will be launched. This is edited by current Cavan Writer in Residence, Anthony J Quinn. The featured poet will be Moya Cannon.

Saturday morning has two poetry workshops, by Pat Boran and Moya Cannon. Booking online.

In the afternoon Anthony J Quinn, this years judge, will announce the winners of the Bailieborough Poetry Competition and shortlisted poets will read. This will be followed by a reading from his published work by Anthony and, after a short break, a talk on developing oneself as a writer also by Anthony.

The Festival concludes on Saturday evening with readings by Kate Ennals and Pat Boran followed by an Open Mic and some music.

Full details on website at present or very soon.