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Friday, September 22, 2017

Shortlist for The 2017 Red Line Book Festival Poetry Competition announced!

We are delighted to announce the shortlisted poems, judged by Mary O'Donnell, in The 2017 Red Line Book Festival Poetry Competition!
The shortlist, in alphabetical order by title, is:

Digital shadow Orla Fay
The flight of the spiderlings
Paul McMahon
Home leave John Davies
The imaginary daughter
Alyn Fenn
The lean season Evan Costigan
Metamorphosis Alyn Fenn
Preparation Donna Deeks
Six ways to wash your hands (Ayliffe 1978) Annemarie Ní Churreáin
The sleepover lie James Anthony
Spring, Ballintemple Benjamin Keatinge
A subjective history of orchids Rachel Coventry
There was no funeral Jessamine O’Connor
Tweets Felicia McCarthy

Shortlisted entrants are invited to read their work at our Poetry First event in the Civic Theatre on Wednesday 11th Oct, where the winners will be announced.
Alongside our Poetry Awards Ceremony, we will also be having a panel discussion on First Collections, chaired by Nessa O'Mahoney, and featuring Brian Kirk, Eamonn Lynskey and Phil Lynch.

More info here:

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Longlist 2017

I was also over the moon to make the longlist for poetry in this years Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Competition. I entered 3 very different poems in the competition which is judged this year by Nicki Griffin. Good luck to everyone. You can read the longlist for fiction and poetry here:

The Dermot Healy Poetry Award 2017 Short List

It was a thrill to be longlisted and then shortlisted for The Dermot Healy Poetry Prize, judged this year by Vona Groake. Fellow Boyne Writer Evan Costigan also made the shortlist. It is truly a fine shortlist. My poem is called The Resonance of Shells. The longlist and shortlist can be read here


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Boyne Berries 22, The Ledwidge Issue

Cover Design Rory O'Sullivan
It's great to say that Boyne Berries 22, The Ledwidge Issue is gone to the printer for a first proof. I'm always relieved when I get to this stage though there is a lot of editing and proof-reading to be done yet. I'm lucky to have the assistance of fellow Boyne Writer, Frances Browne, in this.
This issue contains 44 poems, 4 pieces of non-fiction, 5 pieces of fiction, 5 photographs and 5 pieces of artwork. I'm looking forward to letting you know more soon and I'm delighted to show you the front cover.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Rose Magazine

The Rose is a symbol long steeped in romance, spirituality and mysticism and I have a long-held love for this flower. The mandala shape of the rose has its own significance and it is important to note that there is a language of flowers.

I was happy to have my poem Beyond Caravaggio published in issue 4 of The Rose Magazine. Thanks to co-editors Lisa Egan and Daniel Martin for including my work. This particular poem is a response to seeing Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ in Dublin earlier this year. Every poem in this issue packs a punch and I particularly enjoyed Edward O'Dwyers's Let's Say, Billy Banks by Mark Rowlands and Junior B Championship by Daniel Galvin. The artwork is very pleasing too.

I've been very busy editing Boyne Berries 22, The Ledwidge Issue, which is almost ready for a first draft. I was delighted to learn that Cyphers is going to publish a poem of mine and I had a poem included in Amaryllis (Poetry Swindon's poetry blog) yesterday. Thanks to editor Stephen Daniels. 'Crossing' is both a lament for and a rejoicing in, time past.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Rising Son

The Rising Son is a debut children's novel by Brian Kirk. It is at once a comfortable and familiar read, familiar in the sense that it describes Irish family life and culture. While doing this it also educates the unfamiliar eye about what it means to be Irish. Kirk approaches this neutrality through the 12-year-old protagonist Jack O'Connor who has grown up in London with an Irish mother but without much sense of the Irish culture, for example his lost extended family in Dublin, Dublin city itself, the pleasure of tea drinking, the history of Ireland and Gaelic football.

While on one level The Rising Son is something of an erudition on Irish socio-cultural heritage it also attempts to explore the socio-historical in bringing the 1916 Rising to life through the eyes of Jack and his friend Willie Mahon. They do say that the best way to learn about something is to experience it. Kirk employs a fantastical blanket (capable of time travel) that has been passed down through the generations to do this. Does this go far enough to be fantastic or should it go further? You will have to read the book yourself to discover this. It is a nice touch by the writer to remind us through a character, Robert Burke, that the word dream comes from the Saxon and German word traum and since Freud's theories has had close links with the word trauma. Has Jack been dreaming or has he really been to the past?

The Rising Son is an enjoyable, well thought out and well conceived book. I was surprised I enjoyed it as well as I did. It poses questions for the times we live in by allowing time and mindset to overlap. It is testament to the writer that this can be measured but Kirk himself is the descendant of a member of the RIC and of a quartermaster for Cumann na mBan in 1916.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Giles Foden's Introduction in The Ogham Stone 2017

Giles Foden
The The Ogham Stone is the gift that keeps on giving this year. The excellent introduction to the journal by Giles Foden appeared in The Irish Times recently.  I was honoured to have a poem appear in the journal, Lau Tzu at the Door which I also recorded for Lagan Online's Poetry Day Ireland Mix Tape. Poet Glen Wilson also appears in The Ogham Stone and on the mix tape.
In relation to my poem Foden writes about how a channel for memory is created when things are given names. This is one of the powers of words and of writing, the power to sweep away the old and create the new in the naming.  This is the symbolic if you like.
In other news I was recently delighted to make the Longlist of 20 for The Anthony Cronin International Poetry Award 2017.