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Monday, January 28, 2013

Ó Bhéal Guest Poet Line-up for February / March

Karl Parkinson – 4th February
Anne Fitzgerald – 11th February
James Lawless – 18th February
Niamh Boyce – 25th February
With earlier Wordshop from 7pm Cahal Dallat – 4th March
In association with Foras na Gaeilge Joe Steve Ó Neachtain – 11th March
Maurice Devitt and Orla Fay – 18th March
Ann Joyce – 25th March
The night begins with a Poetry Challenge starting around 9- 9.30pm. Guest poets begin about 10.00pm for between 30-45 minutes, after which there is the usual open-mic session. Be sure to come early to get good seats!
I've never been to Cork City so I am really looking forward to the journey, the reading and to meeting Maurice Devitt and lots of interesting people I'm sure.


Ó Bhéal is held every Monday in the Hayloft, upstairs at The Long Valley, Winthrop Street, Cork. See the map:

Monday, January 21, 2013

She Dwelt Among The Untrodden Ways


          SHE dwelt among the untrodden ways
            Beside the springs of Dove,
          A Maid whom there were none to praise
            And very few to love:

          A violet by a mossy stone
            Half hidden from the eye!
          --Fair as a star, when only one
            Is shining in the sky.

          She lived unknown, and few could know
            When Lucy ceased to be;                                   10
          But she is in her grave, and, oh,
            The difference to me!

William Wordsworth

Friday, January 18, 2013

Love at First Sight

Love at First SightWislawa Szymborska

Both are convinced
that a sudden surge of emotion bound them together.
Beautiful is such a certainty,
but uncertainty is more beautiful.

Because they didn't know each other earlier, they suppose that
nothing was happening between them.
What of the streets, stairways and corridors
where they could have passed each other long ago?

I'd like to ask them
whether they remember-- perhaps in a revolving door
ever being face to face?
an "excuse me" in a crowd
or a voice "wrong number" in the receiver.
But I know their answer:
no, they don't remember.

They'd be greatly astonished
to learn that for a long time
chance had been playing with them.

Not yet wholly ready
to transform into fate for them
it approached them, then backed off,
stood in their way
and, suppressing a giggle,
jumped to the side.
There were signs, signals:
but what of it if they were illegible.
Perhaps three years ago,
or last Tuesday
did a certain leaflet fly
from shoulder to shoulder?
There was something lost and picked up.
Who knows but what it was a ball
in the bushes of childhood.

There were doorknobs and bells
on which earlier
touch piled on touch.
Bags beside each other in the luggage room.
Perhaps they had the same dream on a certain night,
suddenly erased after waking.

Every beginning
is but a continuation,
and the book of events
is never more than half open.

-translated by Walter Whipple

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Next Big Thing

Last Wednesday the expert writer James Lawless tagged me in an online blogging chain called The Next Big Thing, a series of questions about writers’ next projects. The idea is to draw attention to writers and their blogs.
Thanks, James for nominating me and for causing me to focus on my writing.  You can check out James' blog to read about his Next Big Thing.
My Next Big Thing:
At the moment I am working on a collection of short stories and flash fiction.
What is the working title of your book? 
Honey and Stars. (This may change)
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wrote a new short story called Tommy’s Rainbow over Christmas and I decided to gather the few short stories I have together in a folder.  I aim to finish and perfect incomplete stories that deserve TLC.
What genre does your book fall under?
The stories cover queer fiction, fantasy fiction, gothic fiction, contemporary fiction, science fiction and autobiographical fiction.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Jodie Foster, Jeremy Irons, James Franco, an unknown actress...there are a lot of characters in the stories.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
This is difficult to write because there is more than one story obviously but I’ll give it a shot.  ‘Here the main characters seek their true identity and cause for existence through intimate relationships and experiences in fascinating worlds of beauty and confusion.’
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
This collection isn’t finished yet but one story is over ten years old.  It is called The Magician and it won the Meath Chronicle/Bookwise Short Story Competition.  This competition was judged by Jennifer Johnston and she read the story at the prize giving as I was far too shy at the time to do so.  I got her to sign a copy of The Invisible Worm for me which I had read.  There is a poem from William Blake inside the book:
The Sick Rose
O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy
I may even resurrect a short story published in a school magazine when I was 17 called The Starry Night which was based on Van Gogh’s painting which I was madly in love with at the time.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don’t have anything specific in mind but they do say that you should write something that you yourself would like to read.  I admire Sarah Waters, Virginia Woolf and Mark Twain.  I’d love to write stories of escape through the eyes of characters who see the world with wonder and awe.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Life.  Love.  Beauty.  Pain.  Anger.  Loneliness. Want.  Desire.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
One of the stories, Safa, was selected for The Lonely Voice: Short Story Introductions.  Another Story, The Moonlit Valley of Doubt was a runner up in the Meath Chronicle/Bookwise competition judged by Peter Fallon of The Gallery Press the year prior to The Magician.  He liked the story but he was critical of the dialogue in the story and thought it was somewhat unrealistic. (I think I wanted to write prose poetry at the time)  I brought another story, The Purge, to a Boyne Writers’ Group meeting.  They liked the story but felt it needed work.  I have rewritten one story called Amy maybe 7 or 8 times.  It was initially called The Perpetual Past.  A piece of flash fiction included called Gleann Cholm Cille was published in ROPES 2010.
When and how will it be published?
I haven’t the foggiest, I’m just happy to explore my potential to create at the moment, well perhaps some stories will merit publication in individual journals.
I'd like to tag fellow Meath writer Frank Murphy who writes The Tara Poetry Blog  for The Next Big Thing, Wednesday, 23rd January.
Frank is a member of the Meath Writers' Circle in Ireland since 2001 and a once upon a time Teacher/Instructor in Telecommunications. He is the winner of The Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Award Poetry/Saggart Dublin 2009 and a runner up in the Boyle Literary Festival Poetry 2008.  In 2007 he came 2nd in the Dromineer Literary Festival Poetry Competition and he was shortlisted in the Goldsmith International Festival Poetry.  He was Runner Up in Soundbites 2011 and Shortlisted in the Swift Satire Competition in 2010 and 2011. Most recently he was Highly Commended in the Francis Ledwidge International Poetry Award 2012 and he achieved a Certificate of Merit in the Poet of Fingal 2012.
Frank has published two collections of poetry, The Marginal Line (2005) and Excursions (2008).  He was a featured reader at the Boyne Readings and Open Mic in April, 2009.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Crannog 32

Thanks to the editorial board of Crannog magazine who will publish my poem 'The Cliffs of Moher' in Crannóg 32, the spring 2013 issue.
Publication date is Friday 1st March. There will be a launch in The Crane Bar, Sea Rd, Galway at 6.30 pm on that date.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Refusal to Mourn

A Refusal to Mourn

1Never until the mankind making
2Bird beast and flower
3Fathering and all humbling darkness
4Tells with silence the last light breaking
5And the still hour
6Is come of the sea tumbling in harness
7And I must enter again the round
8Zion of the water bead
9And the synagogue of the ear of corn
10Shall I let pray the shadow of a sound
11Or sow my salt seed
12In the least valley of sackcloth to mourn
13The majesty and burning of the child's death.
14I shall not murder
15The mankind of her going with a grave truth
16Nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath
17With any further
18Elegy of innocence and youth.
19Deep with the first dead lies London's daughter,
20Robed in the long friends,
21The grains beyond age, the dark veins of her mother,
22Secret by the unmourning water
23Of the riding Thames.
24After the first death, there is no other.

Dylan Thomas

Friday, January 4, 2013


Happy New Year everyone.  I hope you have a good 2013!


As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

C.P. Cavafy