Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Poetry Workshop for Teens

I've agreed to run a poetry workshop for teens (about 15, 16 years old) and am wondering if I've bitten off more than I can chew. I usually teach primary or adults.

I'm worrying that:
- teenagers don't like poetry
- they may not want to be there
- they won't listen
- they'll be bigger than me
- etc etc

Don't get me wrong, I'm not scared of them but scared of boring them and making them hate poetry more than they do already. I had a terrible English teacher in school (hello Mrs Harris) and she put me off poetry for decades (and the Brontes for life)

I was thinking about metaphors. See Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy and write about how you feel without saying how you feel.

Or Write a How To poem

- how to fly
- how to disappear
- how to make someone fall in love with you
- how to talk to cats
- how to win X-factor

Or What matters to you (why)

Any other ideas? I'm getting desperate.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Mentoring for young writers and directors in Kildare

Kildare County Council and Riverbank Arts Centre, in association with Fishamble Theatre Company are looking for emerging writers and directors (up to age 25) from Kildare, to take part in a new mentoring programme.

The programme will take place over a period of ten months, and will have two strands.

Strand 1: Writers

Participants will work with Gavin Kostick, Literary officer with Fishamble Theatre Company, to look at different writing styles and techniques to assist their creative development.

The mentor will also offer constructive criticism and feedback on all work created in that time.

Strand 2: Directors

Participants will work with a professional director to look at directing processes and techniques. Part of the mentoring programme will also include directing master classes with Jim Culleton, Artistic Director with Fishamble Theatre Company. Artists will also be encouraged to direct throughout the programme in order for their mentor to offer personal feedback on their particular directing style and to assist their creative development.

This programme will commence in October / November 2009.

Deadline: October 15th 2009 at 5pm.

Website here

Monday, 28 September 2009

Black Rabbit

Another late response to TFE's writing prompt

Black Rabbit

Around sunset this time of year I get to squinting up the garden
and often beside the holly, there’s the black blur
motionless, it could be a shadow, mulching grasses, a wing perhaps -
a leftover from a night time feud.

Watch long enough and it moves then all bets are off,
even from this distance that giveaway lollop,
it is what it is, a minor aberration catching the eye,
sticking out among its sludge coloured kin.

It has no choice and standing out like this must be dangerous,
life-threatening to this soft-pelted prey
but that’s how I’d prefer to be
alone, my own self.

Dromineer Results

I didn't win. Imagine! Snubbed again. No familiar names on the list for me.


Judge: Vona Groarke

1st. Prize 500.00
2nd. Prize 350.00
3rd. Prize 150.00

Shortlist Congrats to:





Judge: David Rice

1st. Prize 500.00
2nd. Prize 350.00
3rd. Prize 150.00


New Scientist Flash Fiction

Do you flash? Do you/Could you write a story set 100 years in the future?

This week's New Scientist contains 7 very short stories by leading science fiction writers. All of them are set about a century from now – the time that guest editor Kim Stanley Robinson calls "the hardest zone of all, when our growing capabilities will be confronted by immense dangers, creating an unstable and unpredictable future".

Now they'd like to hear from you. Send them your stories set one hundred years into the future, and a panel of judges headed by acclaimed science fiction writer Stephen Baxter will pick the best to be published in a future issue of New Scientist. They'll publish a selection of the most entertaining and thought-provoking online.

Your story should be no more than 350 words in length (strict) – and should not have previously been published anywhere. By submitting your story, you give them non-exclusive rights to publish it now or at any future date, in whatever medium they choose. More terms here.

Deadline: 15th October 2009.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Children's Books

Penguin Ireland have launched a Puffin imprint for Ireland.

Aimed at the 8-12 market rather than picture books or Young Adults. They are looking for Irish voices but with potential to appeal to other Penguin markets. They are looking for someone/thing that could become a new series. Check their back catalogue for type of thing they publish. The new imprint will be headed up by Paddy O’Doherty.

Submit to: Puffin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin.

See their website here

A new imprint for New Island Books: Little Island

They plan to publish their first batch of books for children and young teenagers in the spring of 2010. Three main areas: books in translation, new books by new and old(ish) Irish authors, and some reprints of good books by Irish writers that have somehow slipped out of print. For the moment, they are concentrating on quality fiction for pre-teens (9-12) and early to mid-teens (13-16), but that’s more a preference than a policy decision. They are committed to quality, but open-minded on just about everything else, so anyone with a really great idea for a book is welcome to come aboard and talk to them.

Check out general submission info here Subs to elaina.oneill AT newisland DOT com (insert the relevant @ and .!)


Did you notice the safety poster in the photocopying room in the film "500 Days of Summer?" It didn't look like this one I made, but the sentiment's the same.

You can make your own here.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

International Translation Day

When:Wednesday, September 30th 2009, 6.30 pm
Where:Irish Writers’ Centre, 19 Parnell Sq., Dublin 1

Have you ever tried to translate something? I have rusty, fluent Dutch and tried to translate a Dutch poem into English. It's really hard to keep both the meaning and the atmosphere, let alone the rhythm and (heaven forbid) the rhyme.

Gerry Loose and Peter Manson

To celebrate International Translation Day 2009, and to mark the launch of the new issue of Translation Ireland, we invite you to a reading by two Glasgow-based poets Gerry Loose and Peter Manson, both featured in the new issue of the journal. Gerry Loose will read his sequence of haiku translations while Peter will read from his new translation of Mallarmé’s ‘L'après-midi d'un favne’. Both will also read from their own works.

Peter Manson (born 1969) is a contemporary Scottish poet. His books include Between Cup and Lip (Miami University Press, 2008). For the Good of Liars (Barque Press 2006), Before and After Mallarmé (Survivors' Press 2005), Two renga (collaborations with the poet Elizabeth James, in the Reality Street Editions 4-pack "Renga+", 2002), Rosebud (Form Books 2002), Birth Windows (Barque Press 1999), me generation (Writers Forum 1997) and iter atur e (Writers Forum 1995). Between 1994 and 1997, he co-edited (with Robin Purves) eight issues of the experimental/modernist poetry journal Object Permanence. In 2001, the imprint was revived as an occasional publisher of pamphlets of innovative poetry, and has so far published work by the poets J. H. Prynne, Keston Sutherland, Fiona Templeton and Andrea Brady. He was the 2005-6 Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellow in Poetry at Girton College, Cambridge. For more details see

Gerry Loose (born 1948): “I’ve lived in England, Ireland, Spain, Morocco (briefly) & now Scotland. A slow-moving nomad. Work has been in agriculture, horticulture & poetry. I also design & make gardens. My poetry is as likely to appear in these (& ungardened landscapes) as on the page.” Gerry has been poet-in-residence at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens and is Creative Director of the Peace Garden Project. He has published numerous collections of poetry, the most recent being that person himself (Shearsman, 2009). A collection of new and selected poems, Printed on Water, appeared in 2007. For more details see

Free Wine!

(I was looking for an image of a John Rocha Geo wineglass with wine in it online. There's none. Only empty ones. What's the point? My dealing daughter broke one recently (they're beautiful) so if John Rocha/Waterford Glass want to send me a free replacement one for publicising, please get in touch.)

Friday, 25 September 2009

Kreative Blogger

Thanks for Niamh for this meme.

I won't pass it on as it can be onerous. I hope the (many) bloggers whose posts I visit know how I appreciate their wisdom, humour, interesting facts and general wonderfulness. Please leave a comment if you are looking for specific praise!

7 Things I love

1. Dark Chocolate
2. Finding the Perfect word
3. The smell of a new book or a new car
4. Friday evenings
5. Sunset on the Sandias
6. La Boheme
7. Great Live music in an appreciative crowd

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Sligo Writers

Sligo (city and county) is appointing a Writer in residence, mainly to up the creative writing element offered by their libraries, as I read it. (And there was I thinking it was Sligo town!)

The Writer in Residence will endeavour to build upon the tremendous work undertaken by our previous Writer in Residence.

The Writer in Residence will oversee the annual writing competition for second level schools, which is held in conjunction with the Sligo Champion.

Secondly, the Writer in Residence will act to support activities such as creative writing and the promotion of literature as an art form. In addition, the Writer in Residence will be the editor of Sligo Library’s online literary magazine entitled The Cathach for the duration of the residency.

At the heart of this residency is Sligo Library’s main cultural objective to promote reading and in particular an appreciation of literature.

The contract term will be from November 2009 to April 2010.

Deadline: 25th September 2009

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Culture Night

There are many things and varied going on on Culture night this Friday 25th September. I won't be joining you; I've an appointment with some greyhounds.

6.00pm - 11.00pm

For Dublin Culture Night, Poetry Ireland is staging a repeat of last year's hugely successful open mic event. Participants must sign up on the night, on entry to the venue and will read on a first-come-first-served basis for a maximum of five minutes. Throughout the evening there will be a number of special guests including Declan O'Brien, John McNamee and singer Kayla McDonagh, spot prizes, comedy routines and musical interludes, all under the carefree supervision of MC Marty Mulligan.

Unitarian Church, 112 St Stephen's Green West, D2

Take your camera as there's a competition for the best photo that captures the night here.
It's not just Dublin (which has more than 120 arts and cultural venues across the city), Belfast, Cork, Sligo, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Tralee, Sligo, Letterkenny, Mayo, Wexford and Roscommon.

Belfast @ 7.00pm - New Belfast Community Arts Initiative celebrates Culture Night in the Cathedral Quarter with 'Poetry in Commontion' a Culture Night Slam. Those who wish to participate can register on the night. Each poet has up to two minutes to deliver their poem and will be judged on their writing, performance and audience reaction. The top scorers in the first round will go through to a 'slam off' to win the title of 'New Belfast Poetry in Commotion Slam Champ 2009'. If you'd like to slam you will need: up to 3 poems of up to 2 minutes each; no props or instruments are allowed. The slam will be followed by music from John McGurgan and Pawet Bignell.
Black Box Café, 18-22 Hill St, Belfast

Mayo @ 6.00pm - Ballina Arts Centre is giving poets the opportunity to read their work to a small audience in an intimate surrounding. Poets can register beforehand or they can just turn up on the night. MC on the night will be poet Terry McDonagh.
Ballina Arts Centre, Ballina Civic Offices, Arran Place, Ballina, Co Mayo

Monday, 21 September 2009

Change at Crewe

For TFE's Monday prompt:

Crewe – where it is always raining
and when it isn’t raining, the wind howls
like the lady in mauve who sits next to you on the bench
and looks perfectly normal at first

Crewe - where the tea would put hair
where there really shouldn’t be hair
though that can come in quite useful
against the aforementioned relentless wind

Crewe – where carriages retreat
in their twilight years
and every train north of Birmingham
grinds to a halt to join their gentle mouldering

Crewe – where the clocks run backwards
and you think you can’t get colder
but you can. And you wish you hadn’t
eaten your emergency Kit-Kat at Rugby.

Crewe – where mobiles malfunction,
the one public booth is phonecard only
and you haven’t got one
and all you want to do is get home.

Do you do erotic?

Speak Only To Me is a US based web publisher of erotic and romance audio books and short erotic stories for women. They pay very well. Maybe I should ditch this literary stuff and get down and dirty.

They want steamy stuff, 1500-4000 words written to be read aloud. Serialisations can contain ideally 5-6 short stories of 1500 - 2500 words. Novels to be a min of 10 chapters, max of 15 (2-3k words each). Explicit language to be minimal. (Euphemisms abound?) They rate stories' hotness using chilis.

One Chilli
Text is romantic and can depict a range of sexual intimacies and erotic situations, while excluding explicit language. This level is most suitable for Erotic Romance stories and Erotic Meditations.

Two Chillies
Text also contains romantic themes, but uses creative alliteration to describe more adventurous sexual encounters in their entirety and very definitely in close-up whilst avoiding the use of explicit language.

Three Chillies
Text is definitely ‘out there’ and sexually highly charged, and may contain explicit language; bearing in mind that explicit language must be relevant and preferably minimal.

Even when considering the differing levels of sexual encounter, remember that each story must be erotic from the very outset. Cut to the chase. Creative use of locations, highly charged situations, engaging characters, humour and visuals can play a big part in foreshadowing a satisfying erotic sexual experience.

Payment 10cents (US) per word. They also take non-fiction (gulp) and other articles. Check out full guidelines here.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Windows Publications 2009

The editors of Windows Publications from Cavan, Noel Monaghan and Heather Brett, have a good track record in picking emerging writers. This years' anthology features Nollaig Rowan, Patrick Devaney, David Rowell and Michael Farry among others. Over half of them are participants of the Meath/Cavan Lit Lab writers group.
Do try and join them at one of more of the island-wide launches for an evening of entertaining and thought-provoking writing.

Culturlann Centre, Falls Rd Belfast Wednesday 30th September at 7.00pm

Cavan Crystal Hotel, Dublin Road Cavan Thursday 1st October at 8pm
Reading in Cavan on the night will be Irene O Dea, Aisling Murtagh and Brendan McCannwith an address by Mr Jack Keyes, Cavan County Manager.
Guests also include writer Rita Kelly from Kildare and novelist Philip Casey from Dublin.

Longford Public Library Main St, Longford Thursday 1st October at 8pm
All Ireland Poetry Day. The evening will be hosted by Heather Brett. Wine will be served and everyone is welcome.

Set Theatre (Langton’s) John St., Kilkenny Monday 5th October at 8pm

Irish Writer’s Centre Parnell Sq., Dublin Wednesday 7th October at 8pm

Castle Arch Hotel, Summerhill Rd, Trim Thursday 8th October at 8pm

The website has all sorts of info on the launches...but not the names of the writers featured. Doh!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Bills and Moon

Think you could write for Mills and Boon? Plenty of people have done or do. They have a competition writing for the Modern Heat imprint.

The competition entry must consist of the first chapter (<5,000 words) and synopsis.

The WINNER receives an editor for a year
TWO RUNNERS-UP will be given critiques of their first chapter entries and an editorial telephone consultation

Deadline: 2nd November 2009

The winner will be announced in December 2009 on this page of the website .

They also have basic tips which warrant a re-read.

Friday, 18 September 2009

The Plough Prize for poetry

The Plough Prize has been going now for 7 years. Entries are invited in three categories:

- Open Poem (up to 40 lines)
- Short Poem (up to 10 lines)
- Poem for Children (length unrestricted)

Deadline: November 30th 2009

Judge: Alison Brackenbury

Fee: £4 per poem (£4.35 for email) £14 for 4 poems (email or post).

Prizes: 1st £500, 2nd £200, 3rd £100

Each entry should have an entry form.

Every poet whose entry is postmarked before November 1st and who provides a stamped, self-addressed envelope clearly marked 'TB' will receive a free tick box critique of each poem entered. Online entrants whose entry is received before November 1st may request free tick box critiques to be sent via email, but email critiques are not available for postal entries. Please allow up to eight weeks for delivery of your free critique. (This is worth doing I think)

Thursday, 17 September 2009

One Day short story workshop

The Irish Writers Centre are offering a one day workshop, more affordable for the impoverished amoung us.

Writing the Short Story with Michael J. Farrell

Writing the Short Story
17 October 2009
10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Fee: €70

Applicants should write the first page of their next short story and submit it by the 1st of September (or not - this seems to have been a nive to have). He ’ll be looking for an attention-grabbing first sentence, a scintillating first paragraph (the writer to decide what is attention-grabbing and scintillating). The page should introduce at least one main character and hint what the story is about.

Applicants are welcome to suggest some aspect of short story writing for possible discussion. Send the first page of your story to

Irish Writers' Centre
19 Parnell Sq
Dublin 1

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Troubadour Poetry Prize 2009

Judges: Maura Dooley and Jamie McKendrick
They say both judges will read all poems submitted, which has become somewhat of a rarity.

1st prize £1000, 2nd £500, 3rd £250, & 20 prizes@ £20 each
a spring 2010 coffee-house poetry season ticket
a coffee-house poetry reading
with Maura Dooley & Jamie McKendrick
on Monday 30th November 2009
for all winning poets

Deadline: Friday 9th October 2009

Website here

no longer than 45 lines

Fee: EITHER £5/€6/$8 per poem if fewer than 4 poems
OR £4/€5/$7 per poem if 4 or more poems submitted;

Snailmail or email.

Last year, all the winners and commendations came from England, bar one (from very near me) and lots of them from London, probably down to the prize of a reading.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Sunday Times Short Story Competition

The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award.

The authors must have been previously published in the UK or Ireland. The author must include a list of his or her most recently published work including the publisher, date of publication and ISBN or ISSN.

...must have had works of prose, drama or poetry published by a UK or Irish publisher. excluding self-publishing or established print magazine in UK or Ireland. Broadcast by UK or Irish national TV or radio station. Established meaning it's been publishing regularly for at least 12 months and is not self-published. Online is also excluded.

Details here

Deadline: November 30, 2009

The winner will be announced at a special event at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival in March next year.

Prizes: The winner will receive £25,000, making this competition the largest prize for an individual short story in the world. (So all and sundry will enter, the good, the bad and the published anyway) There are prizes of £500 each for the five runners up.

Judges: Lynn Barber, Nick Hornby, A.S. Byatt, Hanif Kureishi, Lord Matthew Evans, Andrew Holgate

Maximum 7,000 words. One entry per person.

Fee: Looks like it's free.


Results are here.

• Richard Beard - James Joyce, EFL Teacher
• Nicholas Best - Souvenir
• Sylvia Brownrigg - Jocasta
• John Burnside - Slut's Hair
• Will Cohu - Nothing But Grass
• Joe Dunthorne - Critical Responses To My Last Relationship
• Petina Gappah - An Elegy for Easterly
• Jackie Kay - Reality, Reality
• A.L. Kennedy - Saturday Teatime
• Adam Marek - Fewer Things
• Charles Mosley - Constraint
• Chris Paling - The Red Car
• Ron Rash - Burning Bright
• Simon Robson - Will There Be Lions?
• Kay Sexton - Anubis and the Volcano
• Helen Simpson - Diary of an Interesting Year
• C.K. Stead - Last Season's Man
• Rose Tremain - The Jester of Astapovo
• Gerard Woodward - Legoland
• David Vann - It's Not Yours

Some pretty well known names here.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival

14th – 17th October 2009

The festival format over the 4 days includes lunchtime readings, readings for secondary school students, book launches and evening readings.

This year’s line up of poets include International Poetry festival with visiting poets from around the world: Pulitzer prize poet and US Poet Laureate, Robert Hass (USA), Donald Hall (USA), Fleur Adcock (UK), Penelope Shuttle (UK), Aonghus MacNeachail (Scotland) Lidija Dimkovska (Slovenia), Taja Kramberger (Slovenia), Catherine Smith (UK) John O’Donoghue (UK), and Irish poets Patrick Moran, Maurice Riordan, Ulick O’Connor, and Paul Muldoon. Lunchtime readings will take place in Limerick City Gallery of Art celebrating Limerick poets Paul Sweeney, Clairr O’Connor and Vivienne McKechnie.


- Readings for school groups at Limerick City Library, the Belltable and a poetry masterclass for schools
- Cuisle Young Poet of the Year Awards will take place on Saturday 17th at 11am in Daghdha
- Lunchtime readings and book launches at Limerick City Gallery of Art
- This year’s Stony Thursday Book is being edited by Ciaran O’Driscoll
- Open mic nightly at the White House Pub with a poetry slam on Saturday night
- Fmily day of activity at Limerick City Gallery of Art on Saturday from 11.30am to 3.30pm
- Nightly evening readings with poets of national and international importance

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Talking Books

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Arts Office does it again.

‘Talking Books’ is a series of intimate public conversations by novelist, playwright and poet Dermot Bolger with leading Irish writers about the art of writing and the everyday practices, routines and difficulties involved with creating a sustained piece of literature.

These conversations with Dermot Bolger are presented in association with the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Library Service and will take place in Deansgrange Library at 7:00 pm on the dates listed below. Admission is free, but advance booking is essential. Contact Deansgrange Library at T:01-285 0860 to reserve tickets.

Thursday 15th October @ 7:00 pm
“Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Agents and Editors, but were Afraid to Ask”
Faith O’Grady, leading literary agent and Ciara Considine, senior editor with publishers Hachette Books Ireland

Tuesday 3rd November @ 7:00 pm
Carlo Gébler, author of August in July, Life of a Drum, Father and I and A Good Day for A Dog.

Thursday 17th November @ 7:00 pm
Paul Durcan, one of Ireland’s leading poets. This autumn sees the publication of a magnificent collection Life is a Dream: Forty Years of Reading Poetry, 1967-2007, representing the whole range of Durcan’s writing.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Interesting Links

Writer Beware, a thought provoking post on what to look for on writing competitions.

What is Flarf Poetry?

I'm a little bit dodgy fanboy

Is this Flarf - ably read by Mr William Shatner.

The Poetry Biz-ness US style.

Day in the life of a women'smagazine story editor at Womag Writer.

The Intern on self publishing.

Super photos here at GlassAlley.

Dermot Bolger thoughts on how to write a novel in the Irish Times

Why do you want to be a writer? From Backspace

Legend Press to publish half a book. The reader has to finish it. Why?

Make your own Luck. (What kind of a recipe would that be? An ounce of nous, a whole hunk of persistence, a truckload of talent...)

Reader please supply meaning at Jum Murdoch's Truth About Lies

Friday, 11 September 2009

How to Write the Perfect Travel Article

I've been researching travel writing, an ambition of mine since I was in school. How come I've never tried to write one since last month? I don't know.

I stumbled upon a website called simonseeks that publishes travel articles and shares the profits from any advertising with the writers. Has anyone tried this? The owner is Simon Nixon, founder of lucrative websites Moneysupermarket and Travelsupermarket. Their how to write page is a good summary.

Anyway, here are some useful links, somewhat US biased:

ehow How to Write Travel Articles

How To Write the Perfect Travel Article by Martin Lee, a London based traveller.

One from Creative Non Fiction

The Crafty Writer has a good post.

and lastly How to Write a Bad Travel Article which covers all the bases, and some.

Give a glimpse of life and culture in that place.
Give a detailed account, don’t generalise. Bring the place to life.
Create atmosphere.
Check and double check your facts
Be descriptive but don’t use cliches or too many adjectives.
Write a good hook to get your reader into the article.
A facts panel, how to get there, where to stay, where to eat is useful.
Pictures are vital - take lots.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Take me to the Island

That's Achill Island. (It's very remote. There's nothing to do there really but write or paint or whatever it is you do)


The Achill Heinrich Böll cottage on Achill Island is a residency for writers, composers and artists. Applications are now being accepted for artists' stays in the cottage during 2010.

To apply for a stay at The Achill Heinrich Böll Cottage during 2010, please send a letter of interest, including your preferred dates, a short CV and brief example(s) of your work by postal mail (no emails please) to:
John McHugh, Secretary Achill Heinrich Böll Association, Abha Teangai, Dooagh, Achill, Co Mayo

Deadline: 31 September 2009

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Here's one for Corkonians:

ArtTrail, in association with Visual Artists Ireland, are inviting proposals for the position of Writer-in-Residence at the ArtTrail festival 2009, taking place in Cork City from 13 to 22 November 2009.

To enter, please submit a 300 to 500 word long text responding to the ArtTrail 2009 theme of 'Rediscovering Locality', along with a CV and up to 2 examples of recent pieces of writing (as attachments or links).

The selected entry will be published in the ArtTrail 2009 brochure/catalogue, and can include up to 2 images. In addition, the selected writer will be commissioned to write a full-page feature article about ArtTrail for the Visual Artists' News Sheet (Jan/Feb 2010 issue) and invited to publish a regular blog on the ArtTrail website during the festival. All entries will be reviewed by the ArtTrail board and the Visual Artists' News Sheet editorial team.

Entries should be sent by email with 'Writer-in-Residence' to:

Deadline: 2 October 2009

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Sunday at Electric Picnic

Woke up and Diva-ed. Very good coffee in the Mindfield.

Kicking off in the Literary tent at noon. The Poetry Diva Collective were fantastic and well received.

It was tipping out the high heavens and still people walked through the muck to see us. And stayed. Dermot Bolger said he wished he had brought his tiara and had learned a lot about boobs.

Theo Dorgan followed us and said he enjoyed it. (I think he wasn't just saying it either. Poets generally use the right words)

Followed by the lovely poet, Eileen Casey

and also Siobhan Daffy with a singsong voice, self-accompanied by a plinking sitar and gentle drumming.

Taught another, smaller class on fairy stories with Big Bad Wolves slippingin butter, falling into lava and elephants eating Apple Pie while the Poetry Diva Collective hit Body and Soul guerilla style again.

Poetry Chicks strutted on the Word Stage.

Watched some heavy dance music perched high on a firey stage. The security gave us pulling enthusiastic audience members off after a while but I didn't see anyone take a dive.

Late getting to see Florence and the Machine in the Electric Arena so we were too far back. I saw her hand once and when the guy in front of me held up his digital camera, I could kind of see her but that was about it. Cane I jsut say, I had a much better view when I saw her last year, in Crawdaddy (I think) with about 50 people in the audience. She was really good, great rapport, real stage presence.

Went down to dance in the Speigal tent and into Poptopia to thisispopbaby and caught some wonderful drag acts.
What heels they dance in. Fab.

Costume changes and everything.

Alabama 3 on the Main Stage had a great, grungy and gritty sound. Did you know they made very little money from the theme tune to the Sopranos?

Went back to Crawdaddy, not just for the Southern Comfort, for a great band from mali, Amadou and Mariam.

They were bowled over the reception they got. Fantastic, rocky African rhythms and wonderful, emergetic dancers.

They were followed by Bell X1 on the main stage and then Basement Jaxx. They had a great stage show, animation and lights but the dance music is not my thing. Moved on to Flaming Lips at the Electric Arena. Again, a great show, fantastic green lasers but not my thing either. Back of the tent was a quagmire. Inside of my wellie was also a quagmire.

Finished off at Body and Soul again, back in the teepee.

I tried to move one large, blue cushion, only to find out it was a sleeping man. My wellies had spring a serious leak by now and my socks and feet were moist all day. At the teepee fire, they were steaming. Bliss. I didn't want to leave.

Went home Monday in my pyjamas, the only not very muddy clothes left in my bag. Soggy wellies left standing in a Stradbally field.

Saturday at Electric Picnic

The tent was snug. Wussy hubby brought the duvet on top of the sleeping bags. Breakfast on sausages and tea cooked in the tent. Proper camping.

Walked an awful lot. The nice, clueless, security wouldn't let me into the arena, something to do with tractors and wood chips so walked a long long way to Soul Kids to leave my teaching stuff then onto try and rescue a lost Diva and back again to find I'd missed uiscebots gig at the Literary tent.

Legs ached so much from heaving my wellies out of the mud. Sat down. Caught some of the hard-working Dermot Bolger interviewing George Seremba. Jon Snow was in the audience, wearing a suit and tie and big wellies. Surreal. Followed by Kevin Power and Michael O'Loughlin. Wandered around Mindfield. Ran a fairy story workshop at Soul Kids with a hugely talented set of girls. Big Bag Wolves watch out!

Missed Julie Feeney and Marina and the Diamonds.

Sussed a good reading spot in Body and Soul and diva-ed up to do a guerilla Poetry Diva Collective reading in the bog cottage. One member of the audience remembered us from last year. And what's more, she chose to come and listen again. Result! Another member of the audience was dressed as a cow so we did a participatory reading of my cow's arses poem. Everyone was moo-ved. The audience was invited to recite at the end and Uiscebots obliged.

Another, mojito in my tiara. Then caught some Rita Ann Higgins. She said she's no longer flavour of the month, which is a shame. I like her stuff and the way she reads it. The chemicals in the Heineken had mellowed her.

She was followed by the inimitable Tommy Tiernan who read spiritedly from William Burroughs' mad book Naked Lunch.

I last saw Billy Bragg, I think, at Greenham Common. (I was still at school)

He was in fine fettle. Angry still. Great singalong and packed the tent out, which he was obviously delighted about. As he said himself, we could have been watching Kid Creole and the Coconuts instead. Had another Clonakilty black pudding roll on the top of the double decker bus. I ate a lot of meat and carbs and relish. No fruit at all, unless you count the lime in my mojito.

Then instead of Bats for Lashes (cancelled) we saw some Jape, who were new to me and good. Also good looking and apparently from Crumlin.

Lisa Hannigan on the main stage was let down by the sound IMHO.

Stopped in at the Word tent in mindfield and saw some of Marty Mulligan from Mullingar (book the Divas, Marty) followed by the intriguing and eclectic Book Club Boutique from Londond, (Soho I think)

On to one of my highlights, Imelda May in the Crawdaddy tent. I'd seen her on the box but she was infectious. In a good way. Rockabilly/blues type thing. I kissed the barman for some Southern Comfort beads too. But only because hubby wouldn't. Honest.

Met some photographers who were boasting about the length of the lenses but did the Leinster Leader come to the Literary Stage to photograph a local poet made good? I didn't see him if he did.

And then front of stage for Madness, the Nutty Boys. I've seen them years ago and they were as good as ever. A good mix of new stuff and old reliables with a loopy saxophonist and headcase singers. Exhausted by the end from running on the spot but carried on regardless.
And on again to Body and Soul. Chilled around the fire in the teepee with some tea. Talked for hours. I love that place.

Friday at Electric Picnic

We should have gone down Thursday night. But we didn't. So we had to trudge a few miles the long way round to find our wristbands and campsite and lug the bags and talk the security men into letting us the wrong way through the gate, but they did and we got set up. It was windy and at one point, my feet actually left the ground as I experimented with the new sport of tent surfing. A nice girl from Belfast tethered me back to the ground.

What I like about EP is that there is so much going on, you end up missing some stuff you meant to catch but in the meanwhile, you catch new things you didn't know about. We wandered around a bit and the sun shone.

We watched the Michael Nyman Orchestra giving it loads on the main stage. They do ltos of film scores. We caught a bit of Lykke Li

in the Crawdaddy tent (very reliable for new, interesting bands) I'd never heard of her. She was cool. The crowd was enthusiastic, ready to be enteretained.

and some of Horse Meat Disco in the Bacardi Tent and my first mojito of the festival. Very cool barpeople. Somewhere I have a photo...

Then our first Clonakilty black pudding sandwich on their double decker up from West Cork. Followed by a filthy, neo-Nazi leather-clad drag queen in thisispopbaby. Washed down by some lovely Paulener. Love that stuff. Would they like to sponsor me?

And then MGMT on the main stage. They were very mixed, the sound not brilliant. Their crowd pleasers very pleasing - Electric Feel for me, but the new stuff, not so engaging.

Caught some Orbital on the main stage, not my thing. Shuffled out to try Rodrigo and Gabriela in the Electric Arena who were, in my opinion, nothing special. (so shoot me)

Off the wander around the delightful Body and Soul area with delightful Diva and delightful hubs. Wandered around the Zen garden and other lovely areas. This part ot of EP really showcases peoples imaginations, visual alchemy, vertical fireplaces, eco-havens, hot tubs. Watched an amazing Dance and fire, clowning and aerial acrobatics show on the stage there. Name anyone? They appeared the next day with Madness on stage. We let off one of the glow balloons floating up into the clear, night sky with the full moon. Brilliant. Cold. Layers everyone.