Monday, 31 May 2010

Monday's Poetry Bus

Like many I found this hard. From Bill the Bus Driver to chop up sentences something like runner beans.

My sentence was from a short story by Kevin Barry from There Are Little Kingdoms. Have you read it? You should. (do you think it is coincidence that the initials spell out TALK?)

Foley wrapped his soft hand around the boy's and then ...

He gobs on the tarmac, missing at his dusty brogues,
squeezes until the boy’s fingerbones clatter like chopsticks in the drawer,
He pretends not to notice the tears that splash into the canal,
leans back and unpeels the other hand from the barrier,
bending the pinkie back until it snaps.
He holds on tight and they jump.

Picador Poetry Prize

Emerging Poets with a UK, channel Island, Isle of Man or Irish address should seriously think about submitting to Picador. There's only one publication prize but there's exposure for all shortlisted poets. And it's free.

The Picador Poetry Prize will recognize and publish the best new, previously unpublished poetry in the UK. It will be awarded for a representative selection of a poet's work, rather than a single poem.

The winning poet will be offered a small-but-perfectly-formed publisher's advance, and will have their first collection edited by Don Paterson, Picador's Poetry Editor. Their book will then be published on the award-winning Picador Poetry list, alongside some of the finest contemporary poets in the English language.

Judges: Don Paterson, Jackie Kay, John Stammers, Sarah Crown

They want a sampler of ten pages of poems.


Deadline: 1 September 2010 17:30 GMT.

Entrants who are shortlisted must provide a manuscript containing at least 20 pages of poems 

Entrants must be 18 or over on 1 April 2010 and a permanent resident of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland.

Advice on the website includes the classic

If you don't actually read poetry, but fancy having a go anyway, don't.
and also
Amaze us. Move us to tears. Put the fear of god into us. Enlighten us. Fascinate us. Derange us. Blow our minds. Have us fall on the floor clutching our sides. Shed some light or dark on where we come from, what we are, where we're going. Shock us into a moment of clarity and wakefulness. And be accessible or challenging, be clear or chaotic, be formal or free, be loud or quiet - but above all be bold, make it sing, and keep the stakes high.
No pressure then!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Early Bird Entry Offer for the International Aesthetica Creative Works Competition

Art and culture magazine, Aesthetica, is inviting all artists, writers and poets to submit their work for the Aesthetica Creative Works Competition 2010.

Now in its third year, the Creative Works Competition is dedicated to celebrating and championing creative talent across three disciplines: 'Artwork & Photography', 'Poetry' and 'Fiction'.

Three winners, one from each category, will each receive £500 prize money and the winners and finalists will be published in the Creative Works Annual. Other prizes will also be available.

Deadline: 31 August 2010.

Earlybird offer Deadline: Friday 4 June

Fee: Translates to 13.83 Euro to Ireland. Very steep

To enter the competition and receive your free digital annual please click here.
To find out more about the Creative Works Competition, please click here.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Waterstone’s Perfectly Formed Short Story Competition

Missed this one earlier. From the lovely Diva in making Eimear Ryan.

2,000 words or less (shouldn't this be fewer? call yourself a bookshop)
Writers have to be "over 18 and haven’t had fiction professionally published before"

What does that mean exactly? What kind of fiction? A short story in a mag? That's paid?

Judged by: Waterstone’s booksellers; the Books Quarterly and teams; Arvon Centre Director Claire Berliner; Editorial Director Will Atkins of Pan Macmillan and its top Macmillan New Writing discoveries, James McCreet, Ann Weisgarber and Brian McGilloway:

Prize: Publication in the October issue of Books Quarterly; a publisher’s lunch at Pan Macmillan; £200 worth of Pan Macmillan books; a week-long creative writing course at the Arvon Foundation.

Fee: Free
Deadline: 1 July 2010

See the website.

They say:

Entrants cannot have had fiction professionally published previously: specifically, ‘professionally published’ meaning in book or eBook format produced by a professional publisher and available to the general public for a charge. This definition excludes self-published books or stories published in newspapers or magazines, but includes anthologies.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Over The Edge, Galway

Over The Edge are looking again for the New Writer of the Year.

Open to both poets and fiction writers.

Prizes: The best fiction entry will win €300. The best poetry entry will win €300. One of these will then be chosen as the overall winner and will receive an additional €400, giving the overall winner total prize money of €700 and the title Over The Edge New Writer of The Year 2010. The 2010 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year will be a Featured Reader at a reading to be scheduled in Galway City Library in Winter 2010/11.

More information here. Entries will be judged anonymously.

Criteria: fiction of up to three thousand words, three poems of up to forty lines, or one poem of up to one hundred lines.  
Fee: €10. Multiple entries is €7.50 per entry e.g. two entries will cost €15, three entries €22.50 and so on.

To take part you must be at least sixteen years old by September 1st 2010 and not have a book published or accepted for publication in that genre.

Deadline: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010.

A longlist will be announced in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop on Wednesday, August 18th, 2010. A shortlist will be announced at the Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library on Thursday, August 26th. The winners will be announced at the Over The Edge reading in Galway City Library on Thursday, September 30th, 2010.

This year’s competition judge is James Martyn. James is from Galway.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

A masterclass in performance

From the Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. There are lots of other performances of this on Youtube. Watch a few others and spot the humongous difference a good performance makes.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

More Links

Really interesting post about how publishers use Amazon reviewers, posted by one of my favrouite bloggers that I don't know in person, The Intern.

How to Write a Movie from Frank Cottrell in the Guardian. Good tips, some quirky but applicable to much writing.

30 famous authors who were rejected, some repeatedly, some rudely. The problem with these type of articles is they're supposed to make you feel better if you've been rejected (see recent tweets) but all I can think is how many thousands and thousands of writers have been rejected repeatedly and rudely because they're rubbish at writing. Although who in their right mind would reject The Princess Diaries? I love them.

World's 5 richest authors in terms of money.

Writing a short stories, sections by numbers from The View from the Blue House

Extreme face down

Dermot Bolger suggests here that the recession can be good for the arts.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Monday's Poetry Bus

This week's poetry bus, ably scheduled by TFE is driven by The Chocolate Chip Waffle.

Mine is based on the poem 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens, 1917, which is really cool. See it here with some lovely woodcut illustrations. I also read 13 Ways of Looking at a Tortilla by Aaron Abeyta 2001 which is really funny.

The whole 13 ways thing is a popular meme. See 13 Ways of Looking At Super Mario Brothers by Matthew Sewell, also a basketball by Cynthia Gallaher, a transvestite by Danielle Evennou and at Sarah Palin by NickM.

Removed for possible paper publication!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Poets you should check out - Sheenagh Pugh

The Beautiful Lie.
Interesting take on using an anecdote for a poem.
Sheenagh has a blog too, at Good God! There's writing on both sides of that paper!

Friday, 21 May 2010

iYeats Poetry Competition

I dunno about this one. It doesn't set me alight really.

There's one main prize 300 Euro, another for 16 - 25 year olds and 10 commendeds (presumably no dosh, just glory and a cert)

Fee: 5 Euro

Deadline: Friday June 11th 2010.

Judges: Vincent Woods and Rita Ann Higgins

Prize giving and a public reading of the shortlisted poets will take place in the Hawk’s Well Theatre during the annual Yeats International Summer School 2010.

Enter Online only. Files with entries must be in Word format (Word 97 - 2003) and submitted via our online entry form.

All Prize winners will have their poems published on the Hawkswell Website and will be offered the chance to to read their work at an informal ceremony during the 2010 Annual Yeats Summer School.

More details on the website.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Silent Poets?

This sounds (whisper it) a bit silly.

Chris Doris: 10 Poets Observe in Silence
22 May 2010

For One Working Day : Sat 22nd May 10-5pm. Break 1-2pm

10 POETS OBSERVE IN SILENCE continues Chris Doris' series of public interventions utilizing silence as a medium of shared, public inquiry. Doris' ground breaking work of public art, 40 days and 40 nights (Croagh Patrick, 99) opened the way for the more recent silence works  SILENCER - 30 days of silence 2007 and WHATSHAPPENING  (Dáil Eireann , Irish parliament, 2009).

For 10 POETS OBSERVE IN SILENCE, eminent Irish poets, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Chris Agee, Paddy Burke, Kevin Higgins, Rachel Hegarty, Seamus Cashman, Patrick Chapman, Barbara Smith, Eamonn Lynskey and the artist, sit in sustained silence in the sculpture hall of Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. The participants observe ‘self’ as process, conditioned responsiveness and emergent stillness. Awareness moves to phenomena arising in the local and non-local relational fields and switches to and from self process.

10 poets is informed by congruencies in the research of physics, biology, neuroscience, western psychology and eastern experiential, philosophical practices. 

The work is neither performance nor spectacle of endurance - it is an invitation to a subtle & formative mode of observation and communication.

Public participation is invited at the venue and non-locally, by remote attention.  

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Come on , come all. Atlantis Collective Launch Party at IWC

Where: Irish Writers Centre, Parnell Sq, Dublin
When: Friday May 21st 7pm

The Atlantis Collective will launch their anthology, 'Faceless Monsters' at The Irish Writers' Centre on Friday May 21st.

The short story collection contains new work from the eight members of the group who have been meeting on a weekly basis in the Galway Arts Centre for the past two years. This is the second book by the group. Last year's debut 'Town of Fiction' was described by Des Kenny as ‘an important collection’ containing 'gems of stories'.

Editor Nuala Ní Chonchúir.

Refreshments will be provided and there will be readings from the book.

Colm Brady, Alan Caden, Dara Ó’ Foghlú, Aideen Henry, Trish Holmes, Paul McMahon, Conor Montague, and Máire T. Robinson

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Francis MacManus

A huge entry for this last Autumn. Here's the shortlist via the lovely and talented Niamh Boyce who got it from Brigid O'Connor at sortofwriting. (is this Chinese whispers? Is that why my name's not on it?)

Congratulations all. 

The Shortlist...
The Sampler by Jeanne Beary
None Of Us Will Be Okay by Elizabeth Costello
Friday by Larry Cotter
Scabapple by Gabriel Curtis
The Effort of Walking in Water by Catherine Finn
Nesting by Andrew Fox
Four by Four by Richard Gibney
Remains of the Dead World by David Hayden
The Shallow End by Ned Kennedy
Silverfish by Eileen Lynch
Radiators Hiss When They Are Bled by Maire Mc Sweeney
Richard the Lionheart by Maurice Maguire
The Ghosts of Saturday Night by Ailbe Malone
Comfort by Sheila Mannix
Madigan’s Lake by Patrick Mc Cusker
Kaare by Darragh Mc Keon
The Night Is Cold, The Hour Is Late by Maire Ni Tuathail
In A Minute Rita by Brigid O’Connor
Raparee by John Philip O’Connor
Split by Sarah Purcell
Fishing for Dreams by Joyce Russell
Digging Australia by Bernadette M. Smyth
May to September by Richard Stevens
Gravity by Cathy Sweeney
A Sunny Sunday In July by Grace Trench

Hey, Bernadette!

RTE P.J O'Connor awards

The shortlist for this radio play competition was announced on Friday's Arena programme. 17 out of a total 135 submitted. I personally don't recognse any names. Congrats to all.


















The final adjudication will be made on June 4th.

The Francis MacManus short story award has loads more entries than this and the shortlist will be announced this Wednesday 19th May.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

I'm on Barbara's Poetry Bus

The driver this week is Barbara from her blog here. She gave us the first line, suggested long lines and bid us take a seat. I haven't been on many buses recently. Sorry. Too slow. Too lazy. Too busy. Take your pick.

I got down on my knees and smelled the new linoleum
- sour apples and sun warmed sheets. I lay in the light

that streamed through the kitchen window
like an old testament revelation. From here I could see

cirrus clouds sketch the sky and green tips of the Cecil oak;
I could hear the mistle thrush and thrum of wood pigeons

but I couldn’t see the bog road’s heat shimmer
blurring the grey line that draws away.

Fingal Libraries - Pat Boran reading

I had a dream with Pat Boran in it. (famous poet and poetry editor) We were discussing a poem of mine, a long one, and it was absolutely brilliant. Pat said so. And I knew it was a dream so I was desparately trying to remember it before I woke up. But I couldn't.

He's reading in Blanchardstown library. Maybe I'll go along and tell him. Although what would he say?

Pat Boran, reads his memoir 'The Invisible Prison: Scenes from an Irish Childhood' 

When: Thurs. 20th May @ 7pm : 

Where: Blanchardstown Library. 

Call 01 8905563

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Poetry Ireland Introductions Series

The Poetry Ireland Introductions annual bash is doing the set of readings soon in the Irish Writers Centre. Try and get along and support these (dare I say) emerging writers.
Where: Irish Writers’ Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1

When: Monday 17 May 2010 7pm
Poetry Ireland in association with the Irish Writers' Centre presents a reading from the 2010 Poetry Ireland Introduction Series
Who: Andrew Caldicott, Jessica Colley, Martin Dyar and Peter Goulding.

When: Tuesday 18th May 2010 7pm
Poetry Ireland presents a reading from the 2010 Poetry Ireland Introduction Series.
Who: Andrew Jamison, Simon Leyland, Niamh MacAlister and Connie Roberts.

When: Thursday 20th May 2010
Poetry Ireland in association with the Irish Writers' Centre presents the final reading from the 2010 Poetry Ireland Introduction Series
Who: Pauline Hall, David Mohan, Cliona O’Connell, Edward O’Dwyer and Rosie Shepperd.poe

Friday, 14 May 2010

Poetry Divas Ride Again

This time to Wexford so if you're anywhere near Wexford town Friday night, please come and see us. We've 2 cracking 10 minute sets as part of the justifiably famous Caca Milis cabaret at the Wexford Arts Centre. Starts at 9pm. They've a super lineup for this month's 'European Cabaret'

When: Friday 14th May 2010 9pm
Where: Caca Milis cabaret at the Wexford Arts Centre
Entrance:  €8

MC Helena Mulkerns coordinates the Cáca Milis - meaning "Sweetcake" in the Irish language - and keeps it deliberatly recession friendly,with admission only €8, economic bar, and special guests to be announced each time. The Cabaret features emerging talent from the South East and around the country.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Trim Swift Satire Competition

Competition for satirical work (prose or poetry) in commemoration of Jonathan Swift, the author of such works as Gulliver's Travels, A Tale of a Tub, A Modest Proposal, who was a politically powerful figure - an early personification of what we would nowadays call a Spin Doctor - in the England of the late 1600s, early 1700s. His pen was said to be the mightiest sword in the land.
2000-2010: The Best Of Times, The Worst Of Times

Entries will be judged on the basis of satire, irony, absurd humour, acute political insight, grotesque imagination, and lacerating wit - the hallmarks of Swift's best works.

Extra explanatory material of not more than 100 words may be included with each entry. This is to facilitate judging of entries because this type of material sometimes lends itself to allegorical references which may not be immediately clear.

Entry fee: 7 euro (or 5 pound sterling or 10 dollars) per entry. 

Length: Prose - minimum of 600 words, not more than 800 words. Poetry - minimum 30 lines, maximum 100 lines.
Prizes: 1st 500 euro, 2nd 300 euro, 3rd 200 euro
Deadline: Tuesday, 15 June, 2010

More details on the website

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Literature and Public Art Event

This is a good idea. BUT BIG BIG BUT, it's on a Tuesday. So any writer who has a full time job, or perhaps small children to mind CAN'T GO. COP ON PLEASE Poetry Ireland/Dublin Co Co. Artists and Literature artists in particular often hold down full time jobs while writing.

They're really limiting the type of writer who can participate, learn and share.

As part of the Dublin City Public Art Programme, The Arts Office, Poetry Ireland and Children’s Books Ireland are collaborating to present a development day focusing on literature and public art.  This day will combine presentations of literature as  public art, focus on practicalities and a briefing on the Dublin City Public Art Programme to be announced later in the year.   The even takes place in The Lab Foley Street  on 18th May  from 9.45  – 4.30.  There is a fee of €10 which includes lunch at the Lab.  Booking is through   

Date:              18th May, 2010
Time:              9.45 – 4.30
Location:            The Lab, Foley Street, Dublin 1
Fee:                Proposed fee of €10


Seminar Outline

9.45 - 10.15               Coffee
10.15 - 10.30               Introductions (Ruairí Ó Cuív  and Jane O’Hanlon)
10.30 – 11.45  Briefs and Proposals (Sarah Searson and Cliodhna Shaffrey)
11.45 – 12.00            Contracts (Ruairí Ó Cuív)
12.00 – 1.00              Discussion

1.00 – 1.45                Lunch in the Lab

1.45 – 2.30                John W Sexton and Clodagh Emoe in conversation
2.30 – 3.30                Mary Shine Thompson, Dermot Bolger and TBC
3.30 – 4.00                Presentation of Dublin City Public Art Programme
4.00 – 4.30                Discussion
4.30                            Glass of wine

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Events at the Gutter Bookshop, Temple Bar

This is a lovely, lovely bookshop. Call in next time you're anyway near and I dare you to leave without a book.

Book Launch for The Other Boy by Yvonne Cassidy
Date: Thursday 13th May – 6.30pm until 8.00pm
School Event for Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Date: Friday 14th May – 10am until 11.30am
Poetry Night
Date: Thursday 20th May - 6pm until 7.15pm
Temple Bar Cultural Trust Get Active Book Club for the Over 55s
Date: Thursday 27th May – 11am until 12.15pm
This is a new book club for TBCT’s ‘Get Active’ programme. For more information please contact Eimear Chaomhanach at TBCT on 01-6772255 or
The Gutter Bookshop Book Club
Date: Thursday 27th May – 6pm until 7.15pm

Monday, 10 May 2010

Derek Mahon's film - National Library

The screening of Derek Mahon's film "The Poetry Nonsense"

Where: National Library in Kildare Street, Dublin
When: Monday 10 May from 19:00-20:00.

Admission is free and no booking necessary.

The film screening will be followed by a discussion with Derek Mahon and producer/director Roger Greene chaired by Joe Woods, Director of Poetry Ireland. 'Derek Mahon: The Poetry Nonsense' is a 62 minute feature with contributions from poets Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Frank Ormsby and Gerald Dawe; literary critics Terence Brown, Eve Patten and Hugh Haughton; author Patricia Craig and publisher Peter Fallon.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

South Dublin Arts Grants

The lovely people in South Dublin are open for grant and bursary applications.

I was lucky enough to get one last year which really helped me travel around and read to lots of people and also to buy small press publications I would otherwise not have been able to afford. My philosophy being that grants are to be spread around and small presses and magazines need the dosh.

It's open artists of all disciplines living or working in South Dublin County. I no longer work in South Dublin. Most county arts services restrict their grants to people who live there.

Here's the website.

Deadline: Thursday 20 May, 2010

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Bealtaine Workshop in The Hugh Lane Gallery

I will be teaching a workshop this Sunday 9th May at 3pm as part of the Bealtaine festival at the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin. I think you are supposed to be a bit wrinkly to join in but I promise not to look too closely if you are slightly more youthful. It does say participants will be encouraged to express themselves through their own personal memories and life experiences. Open to new or more experienced writers, young and old.

Free in

I'm going to be talking about using art as an impetus for some poetry with lots of examples. There are loads of sites with ideas for this. Here are some ekphrastic poems I've read in preparation for this:

- Musee des Beaux Arts - Auden
- Landscape with the Fall of Icarus - William Carlos Williams
- Anne Sexton’s Starry Night also here on Youtube
- Wendy Cope’s The Uncertainty of The Poet
- Lawrence Ferlengetti's Short Story on a Painting of Gustav Klimt
- Not My Best Side - UA Fanthorpe
- Derek Mahon's Courtyards in Delft
- The MEeting on The Turret Stars - Paul Durcan

Here are some good links Intertextuality
The Poet Speaks of Art

Friday, 7 May 2010

Magma call for Poems about Beauty

Do you have a poem or two along the theme of beauty? Magma, a great UK poetry magazine is looking for such submissions.

They say:

We’re not necessarily looking for beautiful poems because no-one can set out to write such a thing – they may turn out beautiful or not – but rather, poems about the experience of finding something beautiful. 

Laurie Smith, editor of Magma 48, with Rob A Mackenzie as assistant editor, invites you to submit poems stimulated by anything connected with ‘it was beautiful’ as well as poems on other subjects.  Please send any queries about the theme to the editors at

Deadline: 16 July 2010.

Please see the Contributions page for details of how to submit your poems.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Poetry Challenges

David Morley teaches at Warwick University on the writing programme. He's a card-carrying poet too and for the next few Fridays, he's throwing down the poetry gauntlet in a series of Poetry Challenges podcasts.

Catch up here What is the Secret of Poetry? and listen again tomorrow. Worth a listen.

They say

Don't be shy about sharing your responses to the poetry challenges here on the blog where others will be able to appreciate them and Professor Morley will make an appearance from time to time.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


A womanly poem from Southword 17A, an online magazine.

...oysters, growing their cold pearl hearts
where even now a stone might lodge to rub
itself into a keepsake of love...

from Clew Bay from the Reek by Siobhan Campbell. It won second prize in the Gregory O'Donohue. Good as the winner is, I think this one is better. That's why it doesn't matter who won, just who was shortlisted. In the end, it's a matter of taste.

Isn't that just lovely?
Read the rest here
and the rest of the magazine isn't half bad either.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Poets to check out - Roger McGough

First Day at School.
What do you remember? I remember thinking that I was going to teach, because that's what my parents did when they went to school. And there was a see-saw.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Festival of The Fires Uisneach Bealtaine 2010

Obviously the Poetry Divas on the Button Factory Stage was Diva-licious but here's some photos of the rest of the festival. It was terrific, well managed. Kudos to the organisers and loads of local volunteers for setting it up.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Interesting Links

Should Poets be more adventurous in their use of Form? From Magma poetry.

I've tried sonnets (they always come out a bit too silly) and pantoums (you need a really strong topic for the repetition to work well) villanelle (Failed dismally on this one) a specular (aka mirror poem. This one worked for me. I should try another)

The full program is up for Listowel Writers' Week is up: Jam-packed line up clashing with the Dublin Writers' Festival.

Premiership and various division of (mainly) US magazines from The Faster Times

Longlist for the Edge Hill Short Story collection competition has some great sounding books. If someone gives me them, I'll review them. Except for Nuala's. I've read that one.

Frank O'Connor Short Story collection (very) longlist here.

Many congratulations to Nuala for getting onto both lists. A recommended book.