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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Some Recent Publications Part Two

It had slipped my mind that Clear Poetry, a UK based zine edited by Ben Banyard, published two of my poems in September.

It was a real joy to write some poems for The Pickled Body's "A lot of what I like is trash" submission over the summer and to have a poem included in the issue which can be read here.

In June The Honest Ulsterman published my poem A Day of Rain which had been very cathartic to write.

Thanks to Dodging the Rain for including "The Singing Lighthouse" on their site in the autumn.

Another highlight of the year was the inclusion of a villanelle in Lagan Online's "Inking the Unthinkable".

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Some Recent Publications


I had two poems included in The Meath Writers Circle's 3rd Annual Magazine as seen above. The magazine includes a lovely foreword by Frank Murphy remembering writers and poets past; FR Higgins, Tommy Murray, Jonathan Swift, Francis Ledwidge, James Clarence Mangan, Myra Lalor and John Wiseman. Thanks to Michael Farry for passing the magazine on as I could not attend the launch night. Boyne Berries 23 is now open for submissions and details can be found here.

Most recently I was delighted to have a poem about a visit to Paris published online at STEPAWAY MAGAZINE, issue 25, which is based in Newcastle, and edited by Darren Richard Carlaw. The premise of submitting work for this magazine is to write about the city:

StepAway Magazine is an award-winning online literary magazine which publishes the best urban flash fiction and poetry by writers from across the globe. The title of the magazine draws inspiration from Frank O’ Hara’s landmark flâneur poem, “A Step Away from Them”. Our magazine is hungry for literature that evokes the sensory experience of walking in specific neighborhoods, districts or zones within a city. This is flânerie for the twenty-first century.

I was also thrilled to have some poems included on the wonderful Poethead which is edited by Christine Murray.

Cyphers Magazine also published my poem York's Walls in its most recent issue 84 and I attended the launch night in November.



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.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Poetry Ireland Day

Poetry Ireland Day will be celebrated in The Castle Arch Hotel, Trim, Co. Meath at 8 p.m. this coming Thursday night, 27th April. The Boyne Writers Group will host an Open Mic event. All are welcome to attend and read a poem or two. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided for all those signing up on the night.

More info here

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ofi Press Magazine Special Arctic Issue 52

The Dreamer of Dreams - Edmund Dulac (1915)

The Ofi Press is an international online literary magazine based in Mexico City, Palma de Mallorca, Luxembourg and Savannah, Georgia. Submissions were accepted for a special ARCTIC edition to be co-edited by Jack Little and Agnes Marton, following Agnes' recent research trip to the Arctic circle.

I was delighted to have a poem called Norman Bates Dreams of Snow accepted for this issue of The Ofi Press which I commend for its highlighting of the beauty of the Arctic as it faces global warming melting the ice and companies seeking to exploit the environment for oil. According to Greenpeace The people and animals that live in the Arctic depend on its unique ecosystem to survive. Yet major companies like Shell and Exxon are making aggressive moves to usher in a new “oil rush” in the Arctic Ocean. In some places it has already begun. Russian oil giant Gazprom has already begun producing small amounts of oil from the Arctic in the ocean north of Russia.

I wrote three poems for this submission call and in the end Norman Bates Dreams of Snow wrote itself. There is a lot of quality work to read in this issue and I especially enjoyed Drawing the North by Ellis O'Connor for her first-hand account of being in the Arctic. Congratulations to all involved. You can read the entire issue here

The Ofi Press Special Arctic Issue

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Clasp by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

I picked up a copy of Doireann Ní Ghríofa's first English-language collection of poems, Clasp, in the library recently. I was happy to find that I enjoyed reading her poems and I got the impression that this is someone worth reading and listening to. There is a freshness and a simplicity to her lines that quietly pull you in. 

The poems touch on subjects such as the moral quandary faced by the housemaid of Emily Dickinson; whether to burn her work or keep the poet's words which awaken the maid at night? (Valise of Memories) A trip to Chile is evoked in Maeve in Chile where Ní Ghríofa concludes that though she is very far from home geographically she has never been closer emotionally. Childhood memories arise in Triolet from the keeper of childhood memories, motherhood in Jigsaw and female mutilation in the uncomfortable Instructions To Kill A Daughter's Minotaur. Heady lust swims in After School and In the Post Office. Narcissus is a clever and modern take on the character from myth.  The very Irish issue of industrial school abuse is explored in At Letterfrack. Waking meanwhile is dedicated to Savita Halappanavar. The book finishes with the long, weaving Seven Views of Cork City.

Clasp is divided into three sections, Clasp, Cleave Clench. I recommend reading a copy of  Clasp, published by Dedalus Press, 2015.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Boyne Berries 21

Boyne Berries 21 will be launched on Thursday, 30th March, 2017 at 8 p.m in The Castle Arch Hotel by poet Jackie Gorman. All are welcome to attend. Many of the contributors will read on the night. Copies of the magazine will be available to purchase on the night.

Jackie Gorman is from Athlone. Her poetry has been published in a number of publications including Poetry Ireland Review, The Honest Ulsterman, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, The Lonely Crowd and Obsessed With Pipework. Her work has been commended in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Awards. In 2016, she won the Phizzfest Poetry Award.She is currently studying for an MA in Poetry Studies at the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies at DCU.

Boyne Berries 21 features work by:

Frances Browne
Pete Mullineaux
Emily Cullen
Colin Dardis
Arthur Broomfield
Clare McCotter
Emily O’Sullivan
Trish Delaney
Rosemarie Rowley
Alice Kinsella
John Prior
Liz Quirke
Adrienne Leavy
Anamaria Julia Dragomir
Winifred McNulty
Órla Fay
Bernie Crawford
Lauren Moriarty
Jackie Gorman
Eamon Cooke
Maria Isakova Bennett
Evan Costigan
Alistair Graham
Diarmuid Fitzgerald
Andy Jones
Rory O’Sullivan
Pauline Flynn
Eamon McGuinness
Christine Valters Paintner
David Butler
Anne Crinion
Trisha McKinney
Sheena Power
Caroline Carey Finn
Fiona Joyce
Shona Woods
Tom Dredge
Helen Simcox
Kevin Griffin
Eoin Devereux

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Launch of The Ogham Stone Doolin Writers' Weekend

The Ogham Stone literary journal are pleased to invite you to the launch of our 2017 publication. The launch is scheduled to take place on Saturday 4 February at 8pm at the Doolin Writers’ Weekend. Full programme details of the Writers’ Weekend can be found at

The journal will be launched by the University of Limerick Writer in Residence Julian Gough, and attended by many other writers, contributors, representatives from the university and members of The Ogham Stone editorial team.

The magazine will have a second launch, later in February at the University of Limerick. I'm delighted to have a poem included in this issue.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Found Poem

Found Poem


Graffitied on the alleyway

that we may, or may not

have ran down as children:


Trust the universe; the sea,

the waltzing waves,

the night!


Across the depths a boat

poised between the sky and water

skimming some kind of eternity


not some dead end or cul de sac.


Órla Fay