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Monday, December 10, 2012

Carillon Issue 34

My poem The Fisher King appears in the latest issue of Carillon Magazine which is edited by Graham Rippon.  Carillon is based in South Yorkshire.  A single copy costs 6 euro or 15 euro for an annual subscription

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jack Frost


Hi blog friend.  I've been a bit out of the loop lately but dropping in tonight for a cup of tea.  Above is the cover of a wonderful children's story I got for the kids in work.  In the story Jack Frost comes to play with a boy whom he warns not to mention anything warm or the spell of his existence will be broken.  Of course in the end the boy finds a snowdrop and says to Jack that spring must be coming.  Jack Frost disappears into the wind whispering "See you next winter!"
I'm just completing a group project on developing an induction pack for a student.  Next I'm getting my teeth into an essay on nature versus nurture, genes and environment.  This should be very stimulating as it delves into psychology, sociology, philosophy, science, all sorts really.  Here I am where I never imagined I would be. 
I thought of an idea for a children's story.  I must try to write a story at the weekend.  Chat again soon.

R.I.P Tommy Murray

I was shocked to hear of the death of Tommy Murray on Saturday. I came to know him to talk to through Boyne Berries Magazine and through The Boyne Readings and Open Mic. Tommy had been a featured reader at this year's May reading. I last spoke to him at the Boyne Berries 12 launch. He asked for a copy of my chapbook. I liked him. I can hear him reading from his poem "Van Winkle's Return" included in his poetry collection "Swimming with Dolphins" (Lapwing, 2012):

Look at me
Blear-eyed, grubby
As dishevelled
As a swallow in a sandstorm
Reeking of sloe gin and juniper
Hair, a hurricane of
Grizzled grey and auburn
Time trailing in my wake

I attended Tommy's removal in Trim church tonight. It's a beautiful church really. It's a cold, dark November night. The stars are twinkling. It's Guy Fawkes Night.

Condolences to his family, friends and fellow writers in The Meath Writers' Circle.

Tommy Murray was pictured below with Paddy Smith, chairman of Boyne Writers' Group.

Friday, November 9, 2012


I have a lot of things to read at the moment, lots to interest me. I am lucky and lucky I have these two lovely bookmarks to keep me on track. Thanks to Honor Duff I have a copy of Mary Lavin's "In a Cafe" to read. I found a copy of "Tales from Bective Bridge" in the John Paul II Library in Maynooth.

The bookmarks pictured below were produced for the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Cavan with the Cavan/Meath LitLab. I think both poets capture something essential in a few short lines.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Last Wednesday Open Mic in The Twisted Pepper


I attended the Halloween Last Wednesday Open Mic in The Twisted Pepper on Middle Abbey Street last night.  I read three poems relating to Halloween and one from my poetry chapbook Drawn to the Light.  There were many excellent readers taking part.  I met Evan Costigan, Phil Lynch and Eamonn Lynskey.  Oran Ryan, Sarah Lundberg and Ross Hathaway of Seven Towers Agency were present.  Bob Shapeshaft read some poems of his own and one by Blathnaid Nolan called "Question" from a book edited by Dermot Bolger which I need to look for.

Seven Towers are delighted to announce the launch of Oran Ryan’s Novel ‘One Inch Punch’ on the 15th November at 7 pm. at the Irish Writers Centre.

The novel will be launched by Senator David Norris.


Sunday, October 28, 2012


I'm reading Dracula in bed. It is Sunday morning and I have a whole free day ahead. Bliss. Jonathan Harker has just been brought to the Count's Castle in a carriage by a driver with seemingly red eyes and sharp teeth. As if that wasn't enough for grave (get it) concern the carriage has been trailed by werewolves. And the native people in taverns and villages keep blessing themselves!

I downloaded Bram Stoker's novel on iBooks for free, along with Frankenstein and The Great Gatsby, which are two of my favourite books.

I can hear the rain falling outside in faint patterns which pulls me to poetry. I read a great quote the other day:

"The cure for everything is saltwater: sweat, tears, and the sea." Karen von Blixen

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy Hallowe'en


Happy Hallowe'en all.  I know it is an early greeting but I'm working to deadlines these days.  I uploaded my first two assignments to moodle this morning.  That was scary.  I hope I get on okay with them when they're graded.  I just wrote my first poem in weeks.  I think it would not stand up to much criticism but I liked the fact that it flowed out.  I might try this approach again later.  There's  a Boyne Writers' meeting tomorrow night but I have classes.
If you find the spirit of Hallowe'en can you put it in a phial for me?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Finding Penelope by James Lawless

James Lawless invites you to the launch of his novel Finding Penelope and perhaps to partake of a glass of wine in Hodges Figgis, Dawson Street on Tues. Oct. 30 at 6.30 pm.  James Lawless was born in Dublin and divides his time between Co. Kildare and West Cork. He is the author of the novels Peeling Oranges (Killynon House, 2007), For Love of Anna (New Generation, 2009) and The Avenue (Wordsonthestreet, 2010), and a study of modern poetry, Clearing the Tangled Wood: Poetry as a Way of Seeing the World (Academica Press, USA, 2009).  His poetry collection Rus in Urbe was published this summer by Doghouse.  Awards include the Scintilla Welsh Open Poetry Competition, the Cecil Day Lewis Award, the Sunday Tribune/Hennessy and Willesden Herald award nominations, the WOW Award and a Biscuit International prize for short stories.
I've been learning about Jean Piaget's theories about how children learn tonight.  Keywords would be schema, conservation, egocentrism, cognitive developmental theory.  I've a lot more to read and understand.  I'm also coming to terms with the ins-and-outs of Harvard Referencing again.  Ah well Rome wasn't built in a day.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mary Lavin

Bective Abbey
I took to thinking about Mary Lavin in the last week or so, just fleetingly on and off.  I think it was the elusive white horse near Bective that made me think of her spirit and of my childhood.  Bective Abbey and Mary Lavin were closely related in my mind because when I would cycle down to the Abbey, like lots of children did then, to explore and climb while seeking adventure, her house was visible in the background.  It wasn't really that safe for us to be playing in the Abbey and I think my friend's younger brother broke his arm there at some stage.  The River Clady flows nearby through Wymes' Wood and in school the teacher read us some of Mary Lavin's stories.  One day a few of us pretended to be The Famous Five and snook into the wood to look for Clady Graveyard.
My mother remembered seeing the writer at Mass in Dunderry and she was an eccentric figure to the local people.  Mum said she rode a bicycle everywhere and there were stories of her just upping and leaving in her car to travel around Europe.  After her first husband died she married an ex Jesuit priest with whom she had been friends in her college days.  I suspect the stories we read in school were from Tales From Bective Bridge.  I have never read the stories nor any of her works since.  Perhaps I will seek out that collection.  And I must ask my parents more about the area and their childhoods.
Another story relating to her which I have stored away and which I really shouldn't be telling you now is in relation to my father.  Dad bought hay from her field in Bective one year, long ago, in the eighties and he said that a whirlwind went across the field.  It was a Fairy Wind, a Gaoithe Sidhe!

This year marks the centenary of Mary Lavin's birthday, 10th June, 1912.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October Sunset

This photo was taken on the Navan Athboy road on Friday evening at seven o'clock.  It was too beautiful not to capture.  There's a white horse by the Boyne I saw a couple of mornings going to work but I didn't have the time to stop and take a photo.  I might look for him later.  He looked magical. 
I got a new tattoo yesterday.  It really hurt, at times the pain was burning.  I doubt I'll get another one for a very long time, if ever again.  I'm glad I had it done though.  I'm up this morning working on my assignments.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
William Henry Davies

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Poetry Day

I know it's national poetry day tomorrow but I will be attending my course tomorrow night.  I've had to read about a child development theorist called Urie Bronfenbrenner for tomorrow's class.  He devised a theory called Human Ecology Theory/Ecological Systems Theory which lists 5 systems in which a child may grow and develop, the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem and the chronosystem!  It's been interesting enough stuff. 
This week I've also been working on a short story which is short of 2,500 words.  It's the longest I've ever spent on a story and it may become something longer, for once, which I may even stick with.  Should I start another chapter?  I'm interested to know the story of the characters.  Maybe this course will help me concetrate. 
So for poetry day I am posting a poem by Sylvia Plath, I have to after posting one by Ted Hughes!
Lady Lazarus
I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it-----

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?-------

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.
The Peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot ------
The big strip tease.
Gentleman , ladies

These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.

It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

'A miracle!'
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart---
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair on my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash---
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there----

A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Harvest Moon

The flame-red moon, the harvest moon,
Rolls along the hills, gently bouncing,
A vast balloon,
Till it takes off, and sinks upward
To lie on the bottom of the sky, like a gold doubloon.

The harvest moon has come,
Booming softly through heaven, like a bassoon.
And the earth replies all night, like a deep drum.

So people can't sleep,
So they go out where elms and oak trees keep
A kneeling vigil, in a religious hush.
The harvest moon has come!

And all the moonlit cows and all the sheep
Stare up at her petrified, while she swells
Filling heaven, as if red hot, and sailing
Closer and closer like the end of the world.

Till the gold fields of stiff wheat
Cry `We are ripe, reap us!' and the rivers
Sweat from the melting hills.

Ted Hughes

Friday, September 28, 2012

Boyne Berries 12

I did attend the launch of Boyne Berries 12 last night. It was good to see lots of members of The Boyne Writers' Group, old and new and to hear them reading especially Tom Dredge, Evan Costigan and Caroline Finn. Tommy Murray represented The Meath Writers' Circle.

Gregory Castle, a professor of literature from Arizona, launched the magazine and spoke about his love of Ireland and his distant relative, a Huguenot who had fought in the Battle of The Boyne. He spoke about Ogham stones and the rich history of poetry in Ireland, the bardic tradition and the Icelandic sagas. He quoted Shelley: "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world." This quote is used in the poetry broadsheet Riposte too!

I read my poem which is about my time in Australia. The magazine will be winging its way to Oz later, to my sister, for whom the poem is dedicated. While reading the poem I made a mistake which threw me a bit, lots of room for improvement in reciting for myself. I also felt the murder of Jill Meagher clouded the poem, for me anyway. Such a terrible event.

Kate Dempsey's egg shaped poem "At the Cold Buffet" is a wonderful curiosity while Honor Duff's "Her True Colours" ends with a delicate punch. Michael Farry and Paddy Smith are the dynamic duo and Greg Hastings cover design is as distinctive as ever.

I can't say enough good things about the production. Well done to everyone involved.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Boyne Berries 12 Launch

Boyne Berries 12 will be launched on Thursday night, 27th September, at 8pm.  The magazine will be launched by Professor Gregory Castle of the Department of English, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.  There will be more to read on Michael Farry's Blog Michael Farry.

Boyne Berries 12 costs 8 euro and it can be purchased at a reduced rate on the night of the launch or from The Boyne Writers' website Boyne Berries.  Antonia's book shop and Spar in Trim will also stock the issue. 
I have a poem included called Leaving Oz which is about my time in Australia this year.  This may be the first Boyne Berries launch I will miss since issue one was first published in March 2007.  I've started a part-time degree level course and of course my lectures happen to be on Thursday nights.  This Thursday our pictures are being taken for library i.d.  Perhaps I will be able to slip away early.  I'm not sure yet but I will be torn between the two.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Best of the Net 2012 and Silver Blade Magazine

I had a poem called The Park published in Silver Blade earlier in the year.  The editor of the magazine is nominating it, along with 5 other poems, for the 2012 Best of the Net Anthology which you can read about here: Best of the Net

"As the poetry editor of Silver Blade, I am nominating the following six poems published between July 1, 2011 and July 30, 2012 for the 2012 Best of the Net Anthology (submitted September 6, verified received September 22):

“Ribbons of the Sun” by Greer Woodward (Issue 12)
“The night” by Dawnell Harrison (Issue 11)
“The Seas of Time” by Ty Russell (Issue 11)
“The Park” by Orla Fay (Issue 13)
“Fire River” by Mary A. Turzillo (Issue 11)
“War Planes” by F.J. Bergmann (Issue 12)

Good luck to you all!

John C. Mannone"

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jacques Prévert Poems


The Wonders of Life

In the teeth of a trap
The paw of a white fox
And on the snow, blood
The blood of the white fox
And in the snow, tracks
The tracks of the white fox
Who escaped on three legs
As the sun was setting
A rabbit between his teeth
Still alive


He poured the coffee
Into the cup
He poured the milk
Into the cup of coffee
He added the sugar
To the coffee and milk
He stirred it
With a teaspoon
He drank the coffee
And put back the cup
Without speaking to me
He lit a cigarette
He blew some rings
With the smoke
He flicked the ashes
Into the ashtray
Without speaking to me
Without looking at me
He got up
He put his hat
On his head
He put on
His raincoat
Because it was raining
He went out
Into the rain
Without a word
Without looking at me
And I
I took my head
In my hands
And I wept

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Abridged 0-28: Once a Railroad Submission Call

Time Transfixed - Rene Magritte
Abridged 0 – 28: Once a Railroad explores the destruction of the dream. The world that exists where ‘reality’ is presented as something to aspire to, something other than the real; where every emotion is public and quickly perishable, where expectation has replaced hope and where love and fear are the same thing.
Once we built a railroad and now what is left? What dreams are there still to dream? And the only lines we lay take us up from the void and lead us back down again. Once the future blinded us, strident as a mid-day sun, now the tempered day is old, stooped and shuffles. Once we built a railroad guided by a dream, and what is left? People stark as death, anxious with absence, on crowded paths murky with limitation. No longer hearing the warning whispers or seeing the signals, voided in a theatre of happy endings and perfect fates. Not a future here, so what is left? Burned out stars left to linger in a dusty limbo.  Gone are the soft watermarks of the dream.

Abridged, the poetry/art magazine is looking for submissions for its Once a Railroad issue. A maximum of 3 poems may be submitted of any length. Art can be up to A4 size and can be in any media. It should be at least 300 dpi. Submissions can be emailed to or posted to: Abridged c/o The Verbal Arts Centre, Stable Lane and Mall Wall, Bishop Street Within, Derry BT48 6PU. Deadline for submissions is 19th October 2012.

…forget the many steps to heaven it never happened and it ain’t so hard…

Friday, September 14, 2012

14th Francis Ledwidge International Poetry Award

The closing date for entries of poems, 40 lines or less, is 5th November 2012. Poems must be author's own work and previously unpublished. The entry fee is €4 per poem or 3 poems for €10. The fee is payable to Inchicore Ledwidge Society. Name and address are to be written on a separate sheet. There is a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize with merit certificates for finalists.


The Francis Ledwidge International Poetry Award 2012,
C/o 43 Emmet Crescent,
Dublin 18

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Dark Side of the Year

I saw this photo on Celtic Mythology on Facebook and was captivated. The caption alongside read like "the dark side of the year is coming and the many-handed ones begin to weave their fatal webs." Thrilling and chilling!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bamboo Dreams

This is an anthology of Haiku Poetry from Ireland, edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky and published by Doghouse. It's being launched at the Unitarian Church, 112 St. Stephen's Green West on Tuesday, 25th September at 6.30 pm. Entry is free.

Below are two photos worthy of Haiku I think. I took them last weekend. I snapped the moon behind the geranium on a Friday night and on Saturday morning, the butterfly basking, keenly watched by a tabby cat worried by wasps. :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Another lovely September day has past.  I worked from 9-6, it was quite hectic.  The virtue and vice of human nature came keenly under my gaze today.  I wasn't surprised by what I saw.  Enough about that though.  I've had my bare feet up on the bed this past hour reading and editing poems I had discarded.  One is almost done and another is in the pipeline for completion.  I lit my candle.  How does one craft a fine poem about mortality?  I have lately felt a little like a cat playing with an endless ball of wool regarding putting my thoughts down on paper.  Hopefully I will have better focus and direction soon!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Riposte Autumn 2012

I received Riposte in the post today. I have a poem I wrote 7 or 8 years ago included. I'm enjoying reading this issue tonight.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Trees

Sorry for neglecting you blog. I've been busy. Yesterday and today have been gorgeous early autumn days. I'm particularly struck by the beauty of the trees.

by: Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

      THINK that I shall never see
      A poem lovely as a tree.
      A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
      Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
      A tree that looks at God all day,
      And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
      A tree that may in Summer wear
      A nest of robins in her hair;
      Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
      Who intimately lives with rain.
      Poems are made by fools like me,
      But only God can make a tree.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Revival 23

I received my contributor's copy of Revival 23 in the post yesterday. I have a sonnet included in the literary journal called "What the Rain Makes". I wrote it earlier in the year after driving to Dublin on a particularly wet night.

There are some lovely poems included here. I like the simplicity of "Bridie is on her way to prayer," by Chris Murray and the wonderfully woven "Watchmaker" by Tim Cunningham. Knute Skinner, Mae Leonard, Richard Halperin, Mike Gallagher, John Liddy, Maurice Devitt, Dominic Taylor and Fred Johnston have poems included. Elizabeth Reapy of Wordlegs and Arthur Broomfield of Outburst have pieces published too.

Revival was put together by Noel King, Mark Lloyd and James Lawlor. To purchase the journal visit

Submissions for issue 24 are currently being sought.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Emerald Isle

I'm home. The emerald isle seems apt after all the Australian opals I saw but do we produce any emeralds literally? After heady Malaysia where it streamed rain I touched down in London. It was a monster of a thirteen hour flight. Landing in Dublin was so very sweet last night.

I was saddened to hear about the death of Maeve Binchy. I read Echoes when I was quite young and loved it. The Copper Beech was a favourite too. May she rest in peace.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Picturing the old people

Picturing the old people by Genevieve Grieves is a series of captured images on exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane.  The films are the imagined goings on at staged studio renderings, where Aboriginal participants were encouraged to engage in performances to make themselves seem "more Aboriginal".  The pieces are based on actual photographs studied by Grieves from archives.

The recordings are in black and white and you can sit by each film/photograph in the darkened room.  It is really intimate and enchanting.  The pictures are of two youths who captivated me.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Queensland Art Gallery

I've just been to the gallery and took two snaps of my fave paintings there. They're called "Rest" by George Clausen and "Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness" by Henry Hewitt. I'm going back to the Gallery of Modern Art next, especially curious to see the Aborigine artwork again.

The QAG is showing an exhibition:
Portrait of Spain - Masterpieces From The Prado.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Working Ants/Sleeping Grass

Hi blog.  Just checking in with you.  I've been doing some serious writing the last two days.  I hope to continue tomorrow.  I see these ants every day on the pavement.  They may be fire ants and if not they're obviously some species.  Below is a poem by an Australian writer.
The unquiet city by Chris Mansell

we are succulents
our cool jade arms open
over clean tables our fine bone
china minds pull the strings
of our tongues together we plait
our thoughts with the television
back through the aerials and
transmission towers prodding
through the literal fog
the mechanics of which distance
does not startle us or the ears
pretend to hear the telephone
the page also wearies
us we have taken the meaning
out of things by laying them face to
face in our dictionary of emotions
we are so entirely alone that we
are unaware of it
and we enjoy the religion of solitude
because religions are at base
meaningless and we can turn
from them to a new hobby
to clean ashtrays or emptier
whiskey glasses we the women
of our building Margaret Gladys
Cecily Ida Eileen and I have
the cleanest washing on our block
we are proud and air our sheets
although it's a long time since
any serious stain or passionate figment
seeped through that censorious cloth
we have plants one of us has a budgie
and I have three fish the details
are unimportant God does not come here often
we would be suspicious if he
did without an identity card
we collect each others' mail
remind each other of garbage
days and are frightened
of the louts from the skating rink
but in the night I leave
my curtains open and air
my pendant tremulous breasts

Chris Mansell

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Aboriginal Poem

In Adelaide I saw the Aboriginal flag. I was perplexed and asked my friend was it the Japanese flag? She laughed and said "No it's the Aborigine flag".

The yellow at the centre of the flag is meant to be the sun. The red represents the earth and the black stands for the Aboriginal people. The original people! I've only seen one Aborigine so far, in Sydney and he was busking for tourists. I suppose this is what happens to mythical peoples, indigenous races who are wiped out. Well maybe that's what happened in the past.

I found this poem while browsing google. I think "the Rum Corps" were the police/law of early Sydney where a Captain Phillip subdued the Aborigines.

The listed servitude of roots

by Curly, QLD

Sonny it's wrong, to steal that car,
but it's all right to steal a whole country to live on.

Sonny it's wrong to steal that car, but it's all right to steal all the oil to fire it.

Sonny it's wrong to steal that car,
and it's right for the Rum Corps to pursue you to death.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I've spent a fantastic three days in Sydney and took lots of pictures. The highlights were seeing the Opera House and climbing to Barenjoey Lighthouse by Palm Beach. It was twenty degrees yesterday and very sunny. We had a fantastic view out to the ocean. I got some light colour but used paw paw balm to soothe it.

This morning I sent postcards. It was fun writing them last night. I also played escort to the post office to a group from Taiwan. Go me!

Look at this gorgeous coffee below. It's the nicest I've tasted yet in Australia.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Loving it here. Temperatures are quite cool. It was eleven degrees when I visited Brighton today and saw magnificent ocean looking out to the Gulf of St. Vincent. I don't suppose I'll ever be as close to the south pole again.

Last night we went clubbing and had a barrel of laughs.

I saw a black swan earlier on the River Torrens.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Revival 23

Revival 23 will be launched at the August "On The Nail" Literary Gathering. It is presented by The Limerick Writers' Centre. The event takes place at 8 pm in The Locke Bar, George's Quay, Limerick, on Tuesday, 7th August.

Thanks to Dominic Taylor and to Noel King, editor, for taking one of my sonnets for this issue. Guest readers on the night will be Kevin Higgins, Donal O'Brien and Brid Ni Mhorain. The Gabhar Theatre Company will also present a 10 minute play on the night.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Oz - Day 5

Good morning blog. I'm taking a quiet day to reflect and to write a couple of poems. I will make a cup of coffee and take my leisure. As I mentioned in the previous post it is winter here and raining for the second day in a row. More rain is forecast and I am going south at the weekend where it will be colder. I'm not complaining. I saw on the news yesterday that a mist had covered Sydney disrupting flights and commuting traffic.

There is a lot here to stimulate the imagination which is exciting for me. I visited the Queensland State Library where the Queensland Writers' Centre is based. I'm looking for a poetry event to attend but I may be out of luck as the Speedpoets open mic takes place on the first Saturday of the month and the Australian poetry slam Brisbane heat was last Thursday. I'll keep an eye out for something.

The Brisbane River is very wide. As I looked on the city skyline I noticed that there are lots of cranes. Remember when there were lots of cranes in Ireland during the Celtic Tiger?

Monday, July 9, 2012


I arrived on Saturday night local time. The flight was long; Dublin to Heathrow, Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur (12 hours) and KL to Brisbane (8 hours). On boarding the flight from KL I should have been going to bed so tiredness really kicked in. It was worth it!

Brisbane seems to be a vibrant thriving city on the up. It's winter here so it is dark by six o'clock. Yesterday I visited the largest shopping centre in Queensland in Chermside. I got a sim for a phone there so I'm mobile.

Today I visited the city centre and the area of South Bank on the River Brisbane. I went to the Museum of Modern Art which is celebrating Australian women at the moment. I took time to draw a breath in a room showing generations of aboriginal people and marvelled at incarnations of Australian dogs. There was a lot to take it and I should go back.

Below are just some pictures that caught my eye, mind and heart.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Drawn to the Light Chapbook Launch

It was a very well attended Boyne Readings and Open Mic last night. Approximately 25 people turned up and I was blessed among family, friends and fellow writers.

I have so say a huge thank you to Paddy Smith for being MC and to the Boyne Writers for their support. I really appreciated their attendance.

Honor Duff from Meath/Cavan lit lab and Frank Murphy of The Meath Writers' Circle participated in the Open Mic.

The Battle of the Books is next for the group. As for me, I will soon be off to Australia for a holiday! The photos below are from the lens of Paddy Smith.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Drawn to the Light

Of course the reading tonight is on my mind. I've made notes and I will briefly introduce each poem.

In trying to understand poetry more I found some quotes I like:

"Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild."

Denis Diderot

"Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind. It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private."

Allen Ginsberg

And then there's this quote from Pablo Neruda who has a way of saying something that it would leave one breathless:

"I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests."

A funny one about haiku from Roger McGough (I have one haiku in the chapbook):

"The only problem
with Haiku is that you just
get started and then"

It's a really wet, grey day and it's supposed to be the longest day of the year!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Sneak Peek

I ran with it to the boot of my car in the rain. The ink smudges with rain! I'm fairly happy with it!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Drawn to the Light

My poetry chapbook Drawn to the Light is at the print shop and almost a reality.  It contains 13 poems which have appeared previously in Boyne Berries, Crannog, Revival, The Linnet's Wings, Wordlegs, The Sharp Review, The Stony Thursday Book, Shot Glass Journal, Outburst, thefirstcut, The Meath Chronicle and New Poems of Oriel.  This will be the first time that a selection of my poems will appear together as an entity.  I am grateful to The Boyne Writers' Group for giving me this opportunity.  Drawn to the Light is the third chapbook in The Boyne Writers' Group Chapbook Series.  Michael Farry published Ashes and Snow in 2009 and Brendan Carey Kinnane published Racket in the Air in 2009 also.  The 13 poems included cover a period of ten years of writing in my life, from when I was 23 to 33.  I am proud of the work. 

I made the chapbook over the last three months.  It has been a cautious process for me.  Only the other day I omitted two poems in favour of a longer poem.  I am nervous about reading the poems as I find it much easier to write the work than to recite it in public.  Nevertheless I am looking forward to the reading.  I hope a small group of people will be there on the night.

The June Boyne Readings and Open Mic will take place next Thursday night, the 21st of June (the summer solstice) at 8pm in the Knightsbridge Retirement Village Coffee Shop, Longwood Road, Trim, Co. Meath.  Paddy Smith, Chairman of Boyne Writers' Group, will be MC.  An open mic session will follow the launch of Drawn to the Light.  A copy of the chapbook will be available free of cost to those who attend. All are welcome to attend and read.  Admission will be 5 euro.  Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided.

"If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear."

Puck, Act v scene i, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Jeanette Winterson will read at 8pm this Sunday in the Gate Theatre as part of Dublin Writers' Festival. She is the author of the Whitbread award winning "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit", written when she was twenty five. Among other novels she wrote "Sexing the Cherry", "Written on the Body" and "The Passion".

Winterson's latest novel is called "Why be Happy When you Could be Normal?" It should be interesting to hear her speak.