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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Boyne Berries 14 Launch Night

Boyne Berries is the literary magazine of the Boyne Writers' Group.  It is published bi-annually, in the spring and in the autumn.  It was first published on the first of March 2007.  I am very proud to be associated with the group and its magazine and to have served on the editorial board in the past with Paddy Smith, chairman of the group and Michael Farry, secretary and editor. 
Kate Demspey, of The Poetry Divas and the Emerging Writer blog, is the guest editor for this issue of Boyne Berries.  She won the Plough Prize in 2010 for the short poem Amsterdam Otto Recommends which you can listen to her reading here
The Launch takes place in The Castle Arch Hotel, Trim, Co. Meath this coming Thursday, 26th September, at 8pm.  Kate Demspey will speak about the magazine and many of the contributors will attend and read.  Entry is free and all are welcome.  Copies of Boyne Berries 14, and past issues of Boyne Berries will be available to purchase on the night.  Alternatively you can purchase Boyne Berries here:
I have a poem included in the magazine which I intend to practice reading prior to the event.  It should be a great night.
I've thirty one lines of my new swan poem written but I'm leaving it to settle for now and I will return to it tomorrow. 

Monday, September 23, 2013


My hands poem is done and I enjoyed writing it, it filled some alone time over the weekend and I've started a new notebook, it's gold and very autumnal looking, hardback of course.  Tonight I've been editing some fiction, quite frustrating at the point where I thought, 'Rarrr I can't write,' but I need to persevere. 

My new topic for a poem is swans.  This is because I saw two families of swans on the Boyne in Trim over the weekend.  I've lots of lines and imagery that need out.  I'm trying to get a photo from my phone for this post.  Next up must surely be a post about Boyne Berries 14. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013


The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo 

Today I have been a bit fascinated by hands so I might try and write a poem about them.  I've looked for some famous poems about creation (following on from the painting above) but if you look for poems about creation you are lead to poems about God.  I found the poem beneath interesting enough:
Love Poem
Yours is the face that the earth turns to me,
Continuous beyond its human features lie
The mountain forms that rest against the sky.
With your eyes, the reflecting rainbow, the sun's light
Sees me; forest and flower, bird and beast
Know and hold me forever in the world's thought,
Creation's deep untroubled retrospect.

When your hand touches mine it is the earth
That takes me--the green grass,
And rocks and rivers; the green graves,
And children still unborn, and ancestors,
In love passed down from hand to hand from God.
Your love comes from the creation of the world,
From those paternal fingers, streaming through the clouds
That break with light the surface of the sea.

Here, where I trace your body with my hand,
Love's presence has no end;
For these, your arms that hold me, are the world's.
In us, the continents, clouds and oceans meet
Our arbitrary selves, extensive with the night,
Lost, in the heart's worship, and the body's sleep
Kathleen Raine 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Marc Chagall

Flayed Ox, Marc Chagall

Okay blog before I go and type up my latest poem I am here to mention an article I read today about the painter Marc Chagall.  I suppose it's the haunted, dreamlike scenes he painted that I like, and the colours he used.

Anyway there's an article in The Economic Times about him and his granddaughters, and it was only published a few days ago:

It's interesting to think that he was in love with his work.  I'm also interested in Chagall being a Jewish painter who lived during the Holocaust. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Abridged In Blue and Mara Submission Calls

Lovers in Moonlight, Marc Chagall

Abridged are looking for submissions for two issues of their super magazine. 

Abridged 0 – 13: Mara Submission Call
0 – 13: Mara sees Abridged explore our home city’s forgotten spaces, the excluded places lost and alone that impinge on our consciousness like an aching tooth, the covered up and boarded, the hidden and hurt, the Derry and Londonderry lurking in Derry/Londonderry. Mara in Buddhist mythology is apparently the embodiment of all unskilled emotions and a metaphor for the entirety of conditioned existence. We have no interest per se in religious mythologies but note that the similarity of the ‘conditioned existence’ of Buddhism, and the ‘terms and conditions applied’ of Abridged. This is not a project about the beauty of contemporary ‘ruins’ though in some cases there is an undeniably poetic appeal to decay and neglect. It focuses on the forgotten architecture and social places, the places that whilst seemingly unimportant were vital cogs in the engine of a place or a person. Nostalgia is not an aim of this work; rather it is a reflection on where we are now and how we have arrived here. We are looking for poetry only for this issue. It DOES NOT have to be about Derry. Architectural abandonment and decay can be seen as a metaphor for a million other things…This issue will be in association with artist Mara Cavalli whose photographic work will be featured in the issue and whose film-work will be available on the Abridged website initially exclusively for the Abridged readership. The issue will contain a password which gives access to the work. There will also be an exhibition.
A maximum of 3 poems may be submitted of any length. Submissions can be (preferably) emailed to or posted to: Abridged c/o The Verbal Arts Centre, Stable Lane and Mall Wall, Bishop Street Within, Derry BT48 6PU. Closing date for submission is 30th September 2013.
Abridged 0 – 34: In Blue Submission Call
This issue encourages the consideration of the vital connotations of the concept of ‘blue’ to the human condition and the individual’s contemplation of place, purpose, self and essence. The strong association of the colour blue with the natural (the sea and sky), the broken (melancholy) and the forbidden (pornography) have led to said colour concurrently evoking ideas of apparent wholesomeness, failure and seedy delinquency. Blue runs underneath us and domes above us; it is what bore us and what we aspire through imagination to return to: another dimension, another means of perceiving, breathing, moving, experiencing… It is the colour of the most subtle moods of pain, not burning with the disarming immediacy of horror or despair but throbbing in mellow multiplicity and tonal diversity, slowly moving through the depths of reflection. Blue dances with dappled light, altering perception and renewing reflection. In creative discourses we take it from outside us and hold it as our own, making our subtle moods of humanity material by weaving them through its soft, swelling diversity. Blue was our home, to blue we long to return. We wish to wallow in its mellow discontent hoping for a return to the good old days. Days that never did or could have existed: days that define us.
Abridged, the poetry/art magazine is looking for submissions for its In Blue 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 (preferably) be emailed to or posted to: Abridged c/o The Verbal Arts Centre, Stable Lane and Mall Wall, Bishop Street Within, Derry BT48 6PU. Closing date for submission is 30th September 2013.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

When a hush descends

That other new poem is done and surprisingly so because I thought it was too much of a mish mash of ideas earlier in the day but this afternoon it somehow came together and pieces slotted into coherence when I worked them out.  Now it's almost ready and I really like it.  My next job is to try and find somewhere to publish it. 
It was pitch dark when I looked outside at 8.30.  It's that time of the year again when a hush descends.  I saw it this morning looking out the window in work on trees enveloped in a misty drizzle.  It reminded me of a few winters past and the big freeze.  It's all ahead of us now and I cherish the thought of it.
I heard this song on the way to work, it's rocking.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Hi blog.  I love coming back and finding you here tonight.  It's been a long but good day in work and now I'm doing one of my favourite things, writing.  I wrote a new poem last night with 'Wasps' in the title.  For the first time in a long while I felt my emotions vibrate through the poem and that made me feel alive and happy.  I'm going to start typing up another new poem after this post is written.
Over the summer I wrote a moderate amount of fiction, which I intend to pursue.  It's been a learning curve too. 
I also found myself chuckling over Emily Dickinson poems and quotes I was reading last night.  What a fascinating person she must have been.
She wrote this in a letter to Samuel Bowles:
That Bareheaded life - under the grass - worries one like a Wasp.