Thursday, 30 June 2011

Irish Poetry Publications Part I

This first published on my blog, Poetry License on

Here is a partial list of publications in Ireland that take poetry. There are quite a few. This is part 1. I'll do a part 2 soon but if you know some I've missed some, please let me know....
Poetry Magazine
Generally I recommend buying and reading a copy of any magazine you are considering sending out to. Not only to judge if your poetry is a good fit, but also to help these journals keep their heads above the financial waters.

Abridged magazine is one of the leading Irish contemporary poetry/art publications and presents in each issue the best of local, national and international poets and artists. The magazine is unique in that the poetry and art are completely integrated and not merely illustrative. Each issue is themed. Submissions on the current theme can be emailed to or posted to: Abridged c/o The Verbal Arts Centre, Stable Lane and Mall Wall, Bishop Street Within, Derry BT48 6PU

Crannóg Magazine is a thrice-yearly literary journal based in Galway that publishes poetry and fiction from all over.

Cyphers is Ireland's longest running literary magazine. With strong emphasis on creative work it has published poetry, prose, graphics and reviews by many distinguished writers, translators and artists. The magazine is publishes three editions per year. Very slow response time. Postal dress is provided as follows: Cyphers, 3 Selskar Terrace, Ranelagh, Dublin 6.

Revival is a Limerick based magazine and accepts submissions of poetry and short fiction or extracts (500 words) from local, national and international poets and writers. Send to: The Editor, Revival, Moravia, Glenmore Ave., Roxboro Rd., Limerick. Email:

Poetry Ireland Review is produced under the auspices of Poetry Ireland in Dublin. Quarterly. It publishes the work of both emerging and established Irish and international poets. Poetry and articles can be submitted. Each contributor receives a fee and a copy of the review in which their work appears. The editor changes regularly.

The Shop magazine was founded by John Wakeman, one-time co-editor/founder of The Rialto, and his wife Hilary. A good deal of attention is paid to the design aspects, leading to a nice looking magazine, as well as putting 'good Irish poetry before its foreign readers, good foreign poetry before its Irish readers.' It's based in Schull, Co Cork.

Southword is a Cork based literary journal featuring poems, fiction and reviews that is now online only. They also have a submissions period so check the website. Poetry will next be accepted 1st-15th July.

The Stinging Fly is a magazine for Irish and international writers, publishing poetry, short stories, reviews and creative non-fiction. Dublin based and fairly urban in outlook. Currently takes submissions January to March only.

Verbal Magazine is based in Derry and distributed free with newspapers from the Johnston Press group in NI. It also goes to libraries, schools, arts, health and community centers. The magazine includes book reviews, new writing, features, and youth pages. Have your work reviewed, or submit yourself- short stories and poems. Verbal covers most genres- popular and literary fiction, non-fiction, childrens, graphic novels.
Submissions: E-mail:

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


I've never heard of this before. Mind you, they probably haven't heard of me. Let's get together!

The lovely, new Triskel Arts Centre, Cork
July 2011

Wednesday 13th July 2011 – 17.30 – 21.30: Tribute to Paddy Galvin

Thursday 14th July 2011
12 – 13.30: David Lloyd, Trevor Joyce, Keith Tuma
15.00 – 16.30: Gerry Loose, John James, Matthew Sweeney
20.00 – until late: Cabaret

Friday 15th July 2011
12 – 13.30: Marianne Morris, Posie Rider, Steve Willey
15 – 16.30: cris cheek, Randolph Healy, Karen Mac Cormack

Fri pm Cous Cous (venue tbc)

Saturday 16th July 2011
12.00 – 13.30: James Cummins, Reitha Pattison, Jow Walton, Rachel Warriner
15.00 – 16.30: Andrea Brady, Justin Katko, Mark Weiss
20.00 – 21.30: Peter Manson, Steve McCaffery, Alice Notley

Sunday 17th July 2011
12.00 – 13.30: Fergal Gaynor, Thomas McCarthy, Geoff Squires

There's not a lot more info on it. Blog here

"Without question it is the most innovative and most important literary gathering to take place in Ireland – or just about anywhere else – over the last decade." – Charles Bernstein (2005)

"One of the most important ongoing poetry festivals in the Anglophone poetry world. . . . This is the festival poetry scholars of the future will be writing about." – Marjorie Perloff

"Our affiliation has provided UbuWeb with new content focused on the rich terrain of Irish and British poetry and poetics. The partnership works both ways: for our audience, SoundEye is Ireland''s most important literary festival." – Kenneth Goldsmith

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Mountains to the Sea

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown’s Mountains to the Sea book festival is to offer creative writing workshops for the first time as part of this seasons program from Monday 5 through to Friday 9 September.

The workshops will be tutored by established writers including Gerald Dawe, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Gerald Stembridge, John Boyne and Molly McLoskey. They will cover most major genres will be covered including poetry, short fiction, the novel, nonfiction and memoir.

The festival is inviting applicants to send in sample pieces of their work for the tutors to assess.

Fee: €95 per successful applicant.

Deadline: 15 July 

To: The Festival Director, Tim Carey, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, County Hall, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire.

This is the third year of the festival which takes place from 1 September until 11 September and which will be headlined this year by Robert Coover.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Boyne Berries Submissions

Per their website here, they are currently open for submissions.

The Boyne Writers Group publish 'Boyne Berries', a journal of poetry and prose, twice a year in March and September. The first issue of the magazine was published in March 07 and issue No 9 was launched on Thursday 31 March 2011 in the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim at 8pm.

Submissions for issues 10 and 11, September 2011 and March 2012 will be accepted between 1 May and 31 July 2011

Poetry: Send no more than three poems. Each poem should be 60 lines or under.
Prose: Stories etc should be under 1000 words. Send no more than two prose pieces.

The magazine is available on sale in Antonia's Bookshop, Trim, Spar, Trim and in Dublin at the bookmarket in the Twisted Pepper Building on Abbey Street each Saturday afternoon from 1pm to 6pm and in Galway in Charlie Byrne's Bookshop. You can purchase a copy online on the link above.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Gem of an Interview with Pat Boran

This interview first published on

Pat Boran is a poet, fiction writer, publisher and radio broadcaster, as well as the editor of the highly respected Dedalus Press

Pat has been well known in the poetry world for many years now and has published four collections of poetry: The Unwound Clock (1990), which won the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award, Familiar Things (1993), The Shape of Water (1996) and As the Hand, the Glove (2001). His New and Selected Poems was first published by Salt Publishing, UK, in 2005 and reissued by Dedalus in 2007. In 2007 Pat Boran was elected to the membership of Aosdána. In 2008 he received the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry in St. Paul, MN, USA.

Thanks very much for agreeing to this interview and welcome to Could you introduce yourself to the readers please?

invisible-prisonWell, I'm a poet and non-fiction writer (memoir, observation pieces) who sometimes also writes fiction (for both adults and children). I've done a small bit of TV presenting the books programme Undercover, and have presented the RTE radio programmes The Enchanted Way and The Poetry Programme over the last few years as well as a short period as a fill-in presenter on Rattlebag.

I was Programme Director of the Dublin Writers Festival for a number of years and, since 2005, have been the editor and publisher of The Dedalus Press,  one of the longest running literary presses in the country (25 years old last year) and, by coincidence, also my own poetry publisher. (Maybe it is that only poets would take on the job of running a poetry press!)
As well as producing books and organising events for the press, I also produce an occasional podcast (AudioRoom: New Writing from Ireland, available on iTunes Link) and contribute occasional reviews and pieces to literary publications. I like to be busy and feel it's part of my calling to engage with writing and publishing in a broad variety of ways.

boran-dedalusnandsBut I'm also careful to give myself time and space for my own writing. To date I've published over a dozen books of poetry, translations, fiction and non-fiction, among the most recent being New and Selected Poems (2007) and the memoir The Invisible Prison (2009).

You've seem to have been part of the Irish poetry scene for a long time. How did you first get into poetry?
My first contact with the poetry world was a period of volunteering for Poetry Ireland. I was, like most people I knew at the time, unemployed in the mid 80s and early 90s, and wanted to keep myself occupied and stimulated, so rather than completely giving myself to my own writing 24 hours a day (not always a great idea for a poet), it seemed to me wise to connect in some way with the larger literary world.
To some extent the best poems write themselves (though one does have to create one's own luck, and to be ready when it happens), and for that reason spending too much time with one's own obsessions is not always the best thing. There's also the fact that, nowadays certainly, most poets do other things, have other professions, and I think in general that's a good thing. The range of experience represented in poetry is expanded when someone who actually knows something about science, or gardening or cookery feels able to join the larger conversation and make a contribution to it. Maybe it's a good thing that there are so few 'full-time' poets.
Having said all that, in the early years especially I had no real intention of pursuing poetry. In truth, I think I wanted to develop as a songwriter, and my first efforts with writing were in making songs (few of which survived in my affections!) For one thing I suppose I enjoyed the immediacy of playing music, of sharing and communicating with other musicians on a live basis. But in time the impulse seemed to take me towards the words and away from the music (though playing music, as a hobby, is still a major part of my creative day and it may well be that I'll go back in that direction at a later stage).

What do you consider your highlights so far?
It's hard to think in terms of highlights because the real (brief) thrills are when something seems to work or to click into place, especially if a poem has been resisting for a while.
It's of course reassuring when one wins a prize or some kind of other recognition, but in truth the only thing that will satisfy the urge and desire to write is those occasional moments of discovery, when the pen seems to have a mind of its own and all the writer has to do is to keep up. Some people call it 'inspiration'; musicians might call it something closer to 'jamming' or 'improvising'. But the real highlights of a writing life are when one connects with that sense of something bigger, when one feels in tune with it.
The great Emily Dickinson wrote 1775 poems, only 7 of which were published in her lifetime, and all of them anonymously. Of course, hers is an extreme example of finding the highlights and the validation in the poems themselves. But it should serve to remind anyone setting out to write a poem that the audience (such as it is) may not be one's peers or social circle at all. Though most of the best poems are made from the language of their time, poetry sometimes has much more on its mind than the poet may be able to recognise in the moment.

As a jobbing poet, you've worn many more hats than just a writing poems one. Which hat did you or do you enjoy wearing the most? 
I would choose writing over almost anything else, though I very much enjoy the compensatory aspect of other kinds of work. At times the form (and genres) of my writing has changed considerably over the years, depending on the situation I found myself in, the company I was keeping, the books and voices I was being exposed to. In that sense, writing is not independent of a life.
I'm an autodidact (in that I never attended university) and for that reason I suppose I've always made an extra effort to keep myself abreast of what's going on around me, getting involved in a wide range of literary pursuits because that's what I most wanted to learn about.
There's a stereotype of the poet as ineffectual and perhaps not terribly reliable, the last person you'd call if you needed a tyre changed or a pipe unblocked. I've always resisted that notion, being wary of anything that relegates poets or poetry to the category of obscure irrelevance or high priesthood.
I love poetry because it seems to me the most vital and compelling use of language, because it's condensed and largely portable, because it informs and guides and entertains and occasionally seems to shine a light into the heart of life's mystery. For that reason, I want to keep the link between it and the lived life as strong and direct as possible.
I suppose I've made a conscious decision over the past twenty or so years to make my living from writing-related activities, convinced as I am of the importance of writing and reading for the culture, and consoled sometimes when my own writing is not at its best that at least my work with and for other writers contributes to the greater good.

Dedalus Press is one of Ireland's leading poetry presses. How has the press evolved since you became editor and what do you foresee coming in the next few years?
 Dedalus was already 19 years old when I took over. It was the beginning of a time of great changes in the publishing world, changes which have continued apace. As a sometime musician (and busker in my earlier days), I've always been interested in the way music finds its way to its audience and I suppose I wondered if a similar approach could be taken with poetry publishing.
Book design, typesetting internet publishing and publicity, all of these were new arcane arts to me, but I like the idea of taking on new things and trying to figure them out. In a way, much of the most exciting innovation in publishing (as in the music industry) has come from small presses, in part because they are more flexible, because they've always had to work smarter and be more innovative than the major imprints for whom almost all change is treated with suspicion.
The age and gender profile of Dedalus didn't seem to me to represent the Irish poetry world as I now knew it, and so that has changed considerably over the last few years. The look and tone of the books, too, is bound to echo my own views and tastes, though I have always felt that a publisher's 'house style' need not be (and perhaps should not be) maintained at the cost of innovation, risk, even experiment.
I suppose I see Dedalus as an opportunity to celebrate some of the broad range of poetry styles being produced in Ireland. Some poets write verse (ie regular forms), some do not. I do not believe that these cannot be represented by the same publisher. Neither do I believe that the internet is the enemy of book publishing. The mission is to bring what one believes is good writing to the widest possible audience. As that audience moves and grows and perhaps looks for poetry elsewhere, so too must the publisher move and grow, and sometimes attempt to anticipate change.
At the moment the audience for eBooks, for instance, is growing exponentially, though there is little sign (as yet) that poetry readers are entirely happy with the way the lines and stanzas of poems are liable to be mangled or wholly ignored by e-reading devices. When and as that changes, I expect that Dedalus will be increasingly involved in those changes. But we will remain committed to readings and physical events based around Dedalus books. The digital complements the physical but doesn't do away with the very real need for it. (Video did not after all kill the radio star, despite what the hit song predicted!)

For all the poets reading this who are working towards a collection, what do you look for and what would stop you reading?
Risk. Difference. Strangeness. Perhaps a certain sense of ambition or forward motion. These would be part of what I want to see. The vast majority of the manuscripts I hesitate over but then feel I cannot publish have good individual poems in them. They fall down, however, in that many of the poems could have come from anyone, anywhere. They've often been over-written, over-revised, had too many of the compelling edges knocked off them in a poetry workshop.
Every editor or publisher wants to find something new and strong and original and good. But, as Dr Johnson said of a 'good and original' manuscript he once received: the parts that are original are not good and the parts that are good are not original. When an unsolicited manuscript arrives it's often possible to tell, almost right away, whether it's going to be interesting or not. There's something about the poet who types everything in capitals, or in computer cursive script, or who adorns the margins with clip art, something that says the poems are going to feel perfunctory at best, that all of the creative energy has gone into the wrapping, the presentation. Simple is the way to go.
Send the strongest poems and only those. Make an editor ask for more: it so rarely happens. And remember that most poetry editors and publishers, as I suppose I've already made clear, are people who do it for the love of it and often for very little or no personal reward. If they are 'the experts', they are experts only insofar as they probably read more manuscripts than anyone else and therefore are probably going to be less forgiving than your mother or husband or sister of your obvious weaknesses.
That said, if an editor doesn't like your work, and if you're PRETTY SURE you've written something that deserves to be read (and, no, there isn't any fail-proof test of genius), send it off somewhere else. But do read the journals or publications of the editor you're writing to: there are tastes and fashions and styles in poetry as in everything else. Sending sonnets to a haiku journal is the poetic equivalent of trying to get a camel through the eye of a needle.
Dedalus Press guidelines:

What have you got coming up both at Dedalus and for yourself?
At Dedalus I have new collections of poems on the way from Eva Bourke , Katherine Duffy  and Gerard Fanning and after that from Joseph Woods  and Macdara Woods
I'm working on a small publication (bilingual French and English) for a Dedalus event in Paris on Bloomsday coming, and after the summer (the summer is when poetry publishers, or this poetry publisher at least, catches up on the books he actually WANTS to read), in early autumn I'll publish an anthology I'm working on at this very moment, poetry and prose fiction to raise awareness of the charity organisation Shine, helping people with mental ill-health.
'Despite the recession,' as the slogan on one recent Dedalus postcard puts it, 'poetry's never looked so good.' That can be read in a number of ways. I hope that Dedalus books have a confidence and a professionalism that can represent Irish writing at home and abroad. But poetry is also looking good in the sense that the citizens of this country have been so mistreated by so many arms and agents of the state in recent times; the integrity and importance of poetry and the arts stands in stark contrast to the grubby dark-dealing of the bankers and speculators and politicians who licensed their rampage through our heritage.
These are difficult times for us all, and, as paltry resources become even more scarce, perhaps crucial times for poetry, creative writing and the arts. It's great to see come online and help, as the new technology can do, to make new links and solidify the existing connections between the many parishes of good writing that make up this tiny island of ours.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Repeat of my first blog post at Poetic License blog

Poetry - A Magazine of Verse
Welcome to the first blog post of Poetic Licence. I have loads of ideas of thing to talk about: Poetry to read, to listen to, forms to try out, writing prompts, spoken word, events and competitions, anthologies and magazines, interviews·etc etc. Any ideas and suggestions welcome.

This first post is about reading poetry. Do you write poetry? Do you write more poetry than you read?

I believe that in order to write good poetry, to enjoy writing and to gain confidence to try out new things, reading poetry is essential. And not just poetry, of course. Inspiration, like chocolate, comes in all shapes and sizes. I read novel and short stories, the weekend newspapers, the daily Metro, blogs, visit galleries and museums, watch good TV and films with a critical eye. even adverts. The words and images used in adverts are honed by creative and imaginative people. They are selling something, but in order to sell, you have to evoke some kind of an emotion, jealousy, greed, happiness, empathy. So too should poetry.
Back to reading. Variety is the key here. If you don't read much poetry at all, I'd recommend starting with a generous anthology. For example "Staying Alive" Bloodaxe, edited Neil Astley is a real favourite of mine. You don't have to spend loads of money. Try your local library. Swap books with your friends. Are you in a book club? Have you ever taken a poetry book as a choice? My mother's book club has two people every month designated to bring a poem. I organised a poetry reading once where everyone had to bring a poem by a living poet as well as their own poems to read.
Read poetry written this decade. Living poets and living poetry magazines have a lot going for them and need your support. Reread poetry you learned in school. If it's been a while, maybe you'll read it with different eyes and different life experiences. Don't limit yourself. Read Shakespeare and Wordsworth, Elizabeth Bishop and Emily Dickinson. Read Lewis Carroll and TS Eliot. Read the war poets. Google is your friend here. To name some of my favourite Irish poets, there's Seamus Heaney (Famous Seamus), Denis O'Driscoll, Vona Groarke, Paul Muldoon, Theo Dorgan, Pat Ingoldsby, Derek Mahon, Paula Meehan and Patrick Kavanagh. I read and listen to a lot of British and North American poets too.
Buy some poetry magazines e.g. Poetry Ireland Review, The SHOp, The Stinging Fly. Go to poetry readings or spoken word events. There are some brilliant online resources where you can listen poets reading their own work. There's YouTube of course (not always brilliant) but also The Poetry Archive. Have fun.
And when you find a poem (or TV show or song) that you enjoy, that speaks to you, try and work out why. 
And how the poet does it. Then write your own response.

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Stony Thursday Book

The Stony Thursday Book is Limerick based magazine who have published a plethora of writers in its long history. They are looking for submissions.

The Stony Thursday Book is calling for submissions from local, national and international poets for the next issue which will be published in Limerick, as part of Cuisle, Limerick City International Poetry Festival in October 2011.

The Stony Thursday Book was founded by Limerick poets John Liddy and Jim Burke in 1975, and has also been edited by Mark Whelan, Kevin Byrne, Patrick Bourke and Knute Skinner and Thomas McCarthy. It is one of the longest-running literary journals in Ireland and celebrated its 30th Anniversary Edition in 2005.

Deadline: August 12th 2011

How to submit:
Send no more than 6 poems
When submitting poems, write your name and address on each page.
Send poems to : The Arts Service, Limerick City Council, City Hall, Merchant’s Quay, Limerick
Please mark your envelope: The Stony Thursday Book
*Cuisle, Limerick City International Poetry Festival will take place in Limerick from 12th – 15th  October and is funded by The Arts Council, Limerick City Council and Shannon Development

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Ballymaloe Poetry Prize

A brand new, exciting poetry competition from the very lovely people who bring you The Moth Magazine.

And sponsored by Ballymaloe and Darina Allen, no less. It's great to see people outside the arts world sponsoring such events and kudos to Becky and Will for initiating this innovative competition.

Ballymaloe − home to Ireland’s famous restaurant, hotel and cookery school − is taking the exciting initiative of launching an international poetry prize in association with The Moth, Ireland’s new quarterly arts and literature magazine.
The Moth has been championed by Ballymaloe since its inception in June 2010, and is quickly gaining a reputation at home and abroad for the quality of its content and design − with original artwork throughout and contributors that include Anne Enright, Dermot Healy, Paul Durcan, Bernard O’Donoghue, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Peter Sirr, Matthew Sweeney, Julia O’Faolain, Anne Haverty, Colette Bryce, Judy Kravis, Patrick McCabe, Kate Dempsey and Leanne O’Sullivan, alongside countless writers from abroad.

Fee: €6 (or €7.50 if you’re paying by money or postal order)

With a first prize of €2,000, second prize of €1,000 and third prize of €500, the competition is open to everyone.

Judge: Matthew Sweeney, whose most recent collection was shortlisted for The Irish Times/Poetry Now Award and the T. S. Eliot Prize.

Deadline: 31 December 2011

Details here.

The winner will be announced at a reception in Ballymaloe House in March 2012, to which the three winners will be invited to read.

Contents of Issue 5 - not the usual suspects. Get yourself a copy

The world’s equilibrium by Ginés Cutillas
Like Ships by Elizabeth Barrett
Do Not Swim Near Rocks by Cherry Smyth
A Microchip Translates from the Portuguese the Story of a Novel by Anne Haverty
Mr Wrong by Alan McMonagle
A Kind of Love by MacDonald Harris
A Dissolution by Peter Sirr
In the Dream of the Room your Mouth by Ailbhe Darcy
Crossroads, Bras de Venus by Augustus Young
Lifting Off by Morgan Harlow
As God Is My Witness by Alan Garvey
All Marcel Marceau: an interview with Colette Bryce
Charles Brady, Painter by Paul Durcan
Her Months Mind by Niamh Mac Alister
Love and the Seasons by Aamer Hussein
Five Tanka by Matthew Caley
From Margaret of Antioch by Gill Andrews
Eighteen by Dympna Dreyer
Country Girl: an interview with Fiona Maria Fitzpatrick
I Am Not Here by Mark Hanks
First Memory: Portmarnock Strand by Daragh Bradish
On Returning by Paul Adrian
White Fences Make Good Neighbours by Eileen Casey
Arnos Vale by Melanie Marshall
Odd Man Out by Gerard Smyth
Handover by Emily Hinshelwood
The judge, his horse and my sisters by Judy Kravis

Magazine Submissions here

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

What is an eBook

I've told many people that my first novel, The Story of Plan B. is released as an eBook (here on Smashwords and here on Amazon)
There are some misconceptions as to what exactly an eBook is, as well as a self-published eBook.

Wikipedia, that font of all online knowledge defines it as a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices.

This raises more questions: What is meant by digital form? and what are other electronic devices.

Digital Form.
Smashwords is a well established, ebook self-publishing and distribution platform, used by many writers. Note that it does not provide editing, quality control, proof reading, or book cover design. It publishes manuscripts on an as-is basis and authors must assume responsibility for the quality of the book and for their own book promotion.

Smashwords converts books and distributes them in the following formats:
  • ePub - (electronic publication) this is a free and open e-book standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum. Used by iPads, iPhones, Sony Reade, Kobo, Barnes and Noble Nook, Aldiko and many others I've never head of
  • Mobi - this is the format for the hugely popular Kindle, an Amazon exclusive eReader and any Kindle for PC software or Kindle for Mac software
  • PDF - Adobe reader for your PC or phone. Formatting may not be perfect on your phone. It's a bit wonky on mine
  • HTML - read on any web browser on your PC or whatever
  • RTF - read on any word processor
  • LRF - used by old Sony Readers. The new ones now use ePub.
  • PDB - a format primarily used on Palm Pilot devices, but readers are available for PalmOS, Symbian OS, Windows Mobile Pocket PC/Smartphone, PCs and Macs
  • Plain Text - when nothing fancy will do
eBooks may be read on PCs, Laptops or Macs but are more often read on dedicated hardware devices known as e-Readers or e-book devices. These include:
  • PC Desktop, laptop, netbook. Download Kindle for PC software and download the .mobi file
  • Mac. Download Kindle for Mac software and download the .mobi file
  • Kindle. Download the .mobi file
  • iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone. Download the ePub file. 
  • Sony Reader. Download the ePub file.
  • Barnes and Noble Nook. Download the ePub file. (USA only I think)
  • Mobile Phone. Take your pick. You can use the app called Stanza or RTF or PDF or HTML...
Confession: I am a Kindle convert. They are wonderful.
Did you know you can get a Kindle to read the text to you? Fantastic for anyone with impaired vision. You can write in the margins, mark a page to return to, highlight quotes, start reading from where you last stopped and lots of other things.
Imagine taking one Kindle on holiday instead of half a suitcase full of books that is still not enough to get you through a fortnight of flights and holiday relaxation. One Kindle.
Basically, if you can read this blog, you can read an eBook. (So why not download mine now?)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Poetry in a Box

From the Temple House Festival Arts Trail. I loved this. There's so much room for this to spread.

Poetry in a Box is a collaboration between the writer Kate Winter and Kevin Callaghan of Callaghan Construction and Architect and Designer Leonie Cornelius of Blume Design House.

Basically the 5 selected poems were painted on the door of a box.

This one The Owl and The Pussycat, by Edward Lear, carefully planted at child level. Then open the door to see the representation.

Here is The Moon Wakes by Federico Garcia-Lorca.

Inside, the moon and coins of silver.

Here is a terrific poem, Advice to a Discarded Lover by Fleur Adcock

Inside, maggots, no, kidding, just bones.

Here is a A Birthday by Christina Rossetti

And inside...

Here is The Door by Miroslav Holub.

And open inside is

A mirror.

Thanks to Maeve O'Sullivan, legendary Haiku Diva for some of the photos.

Notice, no Irish poet dead or alive. Which poet/poem would you choose? It would have to be one with a good, strong image.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Temple House Festival

A great festival, now in its second year with music, stalls from local businesses and an eclectic art trail. Great for families and those of us who have ostensibly grown up too. Filthy weather though.

Drive down the M4/N4 until you hit Co Sligo. Turn left on the N17 and you're pretty well there.

Viking on the phone

The weather forecast was grim; the fun forecast was sunny. The Poetry Divas, me and Haiku Diva, Maeve O'Sullivan, arrived in Temple House, Sligo and started with a lift along a track on the back of a quadbike.

The Rose Garden and Arts stage was missing the roses but contained the Mad Hatters Tea Party in the audience, sheltered from the rain and sitting on pallet seats. We glammed up and went on stage with my nails still wet. We’re nothing if not professional. We gave a cracking and well received reading, cruising through the topics of drunkenness, dancing, cows and death.

Marty Mulligan
from Mullingar gave a rip roaring rendition of his beat poetry. My personal favourite on saying sorry.

Mrs Nellie Murphy from Galway followed us on with her own style of story telling. Worth a look.

We had some noodle lunch and went to put up the tents; sheltered in them with our first G&T. Wandered up the thistle-ly hill to the giant guitar.

Walked the arts trail which was delightful, birds in trees and flying fish. Went back to the Rose Garden, our favourite Temple House space, and watched some bands unplugged including Sanzkrit. Had another G&T.

We walked the wood trail. There were lots of surprises and intrigued kids, a view of a giant recycled from rubbish.

The best was a willow nest, like a warbler's where there was knitting and fiddling. The trees were kept snuggled warm in knitted tree socks.

There were clowns in the turf house, as unnerving as ever, disemboweling fruit with the aid of a precocious child and some enrapt teeny, tiny audience members.

Poems in a box deserve their own blog spot. Will follow on. Caught Dave Morrisey on the acoustic stage. He supports Aslan and was terrific.

Back for the Best Festival Chips Ever, Smokey Joes with bbq sauce, bacon and cheese melted on top. Totally yum. Talked to God on the Phone.

Bought a snugly, sunset-coloured fleecy against the cold. With a medieval hood. Watched the band called Stand in the main tent, sat in the sunshine and drank tea and hot chocolate (rock on) Watched Declan O’Rourke. How does his hair stay so corkscrew curled? Excellent musicians. More tea and chats with the Mad March Hare and other rodents, out of costume. Then a gawk at Stereo MCs. Energetic. Bit of boogie-ing. Getting really cold now. On to the VIP bar for a posh loo visit and another boogie with the aid of some Bavaria beer (sponsors) and a free cocktail (Thanks unknown lady, it was special) Some of the younger folk were rubbery at this stage. Time to go to the tents.

My goodness but it was cold. Layered like Michelin woman with a towel like a blanket over the sleeping bag, a coat over my face, but still fr-fr-freezing.

Sunny when I first woke up but raining by the time I stirred properly for breakfast in the car. There I could charge my phone a little and text our special guest star, the fantastic Sarah Clancy.

Organised and coordinated a great show for the Rose Garden stage again. Started unplugged, finished plugged and bubbled. Great audience. One of the strengths of the Poetry Divas Collective is that each poet’s quirks and attitudes and poems will chime with another poets and lead on through the show. I think it went very well. I recited some more poems by heart, which I find a challenge. The bubbles went down well with the small kids, always a bonus.

Dermot Healy was listening in the audience towards the end. We preceded by Raw Chocolate from Sligo who harmonised unplugged. A lovely show and a great gang of gals.

Had more of the Best Festival Chips Ever for lunch. And strong coffee. Back to the Rose Garden Stage to catch the end of Dermot Healy reading with a lively violin played by Gerry Harrington.

Dermot said he remembered us from Flat Lake but I think he mixed us up with the Poetry Chicks. They performed a piece of his, if I remember rightly.

Watched a lovely band in the Music Maker tent where we increased the audience by 50% which was a shame. They were still giving it loads. I hope the lights were in their eyes. It had been raining since we’d got up so taking down the tent was a soggy affair, efficiently done.

All in all a lovely, small festival on a large chunk of land with a very friendly vibe. And another slam dunk reading by the Poetry Divas. Thanks to Marty for asking us, for Helena for the lift and to Tara for organising the stage.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Google Analytics for emerging writer blog

You can while away many hours when you should be writing in looking at your Google analytics numbers.

(By the way, wile away means to trick someone)

Top search terms in the last 12 months that aren't emerging writer variants include:
  • Literary agents Ireland (and variants)
  • specular poem (that's another name for a mirror poem. Great fun to write.)
  • last years Guardian short story winner (David Constatine)
  • International women's day (write on sisters)
  • Listowel writers week competitions (want to buy an ad? Listowel?)
  • Canadian Literary magazines (there are loads)
  • ginko (a character in Mushishi or a character in the Italian comic Diabolik or more likely, a haiku walk)
  • Dave Lordan (Hi Dave! Did you know you are trending on my blog?)
  • Power Whiskey Short Story Competition (very populat recently)
  • lonely (ahh)
  • How to look good on TV
  • river meander
  • the stinging fly rejections 2011 (that would be me then)
Most popular blogposts in the last twelve month (in reverse order)

10. Whiskey - The Powers Whiskey Writing Competition 
9. Literary agents in Ireland (This from 2007)
8. RTE Guide/Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition - (2010)
7. UK Publishing House Guidelines (from 2007, so it will be out of date)
6. More UK Literary Magazines (a part II from 2008)
5. Ireland's Own Short Story Competition (2010)
4. International Women's Day - call for submissions
3. Literary Agents in and around Ireland (more up to date from 2010)
2. MA Creative Writing Courses in Ireland (from 2008)

and the Number 1?

1. Literary Agents in Ireland (from 2008. Please see Number 3 readers)

So everyone wants to get published.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Playwriting Competition for plays for children

Plays for children and young people can excite and inspire writers, performers and audiences. Now in its second year, the International Playwriting Competition from Trinity College, London encourages new writing in this field, recognising the very best with cash prizes, performances on the London stage and publication with international distribution.

Writers are asked to submit a one-act play that is either:

suitable for performers aged 11 years and under


intended for an audience aged 12–16 years.

The competition is open to writers of any age, of any level of experience and from any country.

Entry Options

There are two fee options to choose from:
  • entry with written feedback (£20 entry fee)
  • entry only with no written feedback (£10 entry fee)

In each category:
  • cash prize of £1,000 for the winning writer
  • Trinity College London will publish the winning plays in a collection of plays from the competition
  • winning play to be performed at a gala event at a London theatre in January 2012
  • travel and accommodation costs for the writer to attend the gala performance.

In addition, up to six ‘Highly Commended’ awards:

  • cash prize of £500
  • Trinity College London will publish the winning plays in a collection of plays from the competition.
Awards will also be made for The Most Promising Playwright(s) aged 11 years and under and The Most Promising Playwright(s) aged 12–16 years.

Deadline: 1 September 2011.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Worthy reading

It's price but in a good cause.

Ómós: A cultural evening of music, literature, poetry and stand up performance
Where: Pepper Cannister, Mount St Crescent, Dublin 2,
When: Sunday June 26th 8-10pm

Readings by: Pat Boran, John Lonergan, Paula Meehan
Music by: Mary Coughlan, Colm Ó Snodaigh (Kila)
Theatre by:Silver Stars (Brokentalkers prod'n)
Stand up: Kevin McAleer
...Plus a surprise guest yet to be announced.

Hosted by Theo Dorgan and Caitriona Crowe.

Theme 'To Be an Irish Man'. This unique event promises to be entertaining, poignant and thought provoking

How much: Tickets are €25 and can be booked on or call 01 6624070.

The artists are giving freely of their time & all profits go to One in Four supporting therapy, advocacy and prevention projects.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Poets to Check Out - Jo Shapcott

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Storytelling Workshops

My storytelling skills are limited so these sound interesting.

The Storytellers of Ireland present 3 storytelling workshops

1. Intensive Storytelling Workshop with Liz Warren

When :Saturday 18 June 10.30am - 1 pm

Where: The Flying Book Club, 39 Lower Leeson Street, D4

Fee: €40 (Concessions €30)

2. So Where's The Story? | The Voice and the Storyteller

When: Saturday 25 June 10am - 4.30pm

A Day-long Workshop with Nuala Hayes concentrating on the development of the voice in storytelling

Where: The FlyingBook Club, 39 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin

Fee: €40 (concessions €30)

3. Dancing With Your Listeners
When: Saturday 23 July 10am - 4.30pm

A Day-long workshop presented by Pat Speight.

Where: Camden Palace Hotel Community Centre, Cork City

Fee: €40 (Concessions €30)

Spaces for all events are limited and booking is essential - contact: Jack ( or Fiona ( to assure your place.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

iYeats Poetry Competition

This competition is run from Sligo. But there only seems to be one prize and one for the yoof so I won't enter.

The Hawk’s Well is delighted to announce the third iYeats Poetry Competition – an online national and international competition open to all and with a special award for poetry from poets under 25.The theme of the iYeats Poetry Competition 2011 will be
“I am still of opinion that only two topics can be of the least interest to a serious and studious mood, sex and the dead”
- William Butler Yeats

Deadline: Sunday, 26 June.

Up to four poems on this subject may be entered online only for both the General and Emerging Talent categories.

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 2011.

Judges: Gerald Dawe & Enda Wyley

Entry fee: €5 per poem

Prizes: First prize of €300
Emerging Talent award of €300 (16 – 25 year olds)
Ten highly commended awards.

All prize winners will have their poems published on the Hawk’s Well website and will be offered the chance to read their work at an informal ceremony during the 2011 Yeats International Summer School.

For full details of the competition and to enter online go to

Monday, 13 June 2011

Poetry Workshop with John Liddy in Limerick

The Limerick Writers Centre presents a poetry workshop designed for those who have had
“some success in having their work published or who are serious about learning the craft of poem writing.”
Participants are encouraged to bring one burning idea they would like to tackle. They will be guided and prompted to transform their idea into a poem. Every participant will go away with a finished poem(s) or nearly finished. Part of the workshop will involve research in the Limerick City Library.

To book contact Dominic at 087 2996409 or email

When is it? And is it free?

Sunday, 12 June 2011

More Bloomsday shenanigans

On June 16th The Irish Writers' Centre will be celebrating Bloomsday with an afternoon of music, poetry and prose in the Garden of Remembrance from 12pm-3pm.

On June 16th, the Irish Writers’Centre will be celebrating Bloomsday, not with Leopold - Joyce’s great flaneur- but with Finnegan and his wake at the Garden of Remembrance. The Writers’ Centre along with Poetry Ireland will provide a varied afternoon’s entertainment between 12 noon and 3pm, mixing poetry and prose with music and song. This traditional Irish ‘wake’ will both commemorate the work of Ireland’s late, great writers and provide a platform to admire the wonderful writing being created in modern Ireland!

Celebrations will begin at twelve noon with an hour of musical entertainment from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. One o’clock will bring prose performances by Conor Kostick, June Considine, Catherine Dunne, Mia Gallagher, Mícheál O Ruairc and Declan Collinge. There will also be poetry readings by Mark Granier, Kieran Fury and Padraig J Daly among others. Each writer will read some of their own work along with that of another Irish writer that they feel influences, informs or inspires them. Between two o’clock and half past three, there will be an open mic session, where everyone will be encouraged to add their own flavour to the day’s proceedings. It promises to be a great afternoon full of literary laughs!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Airfield Writers' launch/ Open Mic night

Open Mic Night
to celebrate the launch of our broadsheet The Mews

Airfield Writers are hosting an open-mic evening
When: Wednesday June 22nd at 7.30 pm
Where: The Library of Airfield House.

Bring your poem/ flash fiction – no longer than two minutes, please. Or just lend an appreciative ear and enjoy a complimentary glass of wine.

For directions to Airfield, see

Friday, 10 June 2011

Interesting Links

A wonderful selection of new poems written for wedding occasions in the Guardian selected by Carol Ann Duffy.

A Tower made of books in Buenos Aires World Book Capital 2011

15 Writers With Lives More Interesting Than Fiction
I often wonder whether they would be published if they'd been quiet gardeners.

Is it worth entering writing competitions (from the winner of a competition so guess what the answer is)

Classic Poems read aloud

Poethead seems to be a collection of articles with particular emphasis on women poets.

Where Neil Gaiman really gets his ideas from.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

dlr Arts Grants 2011

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council operates a scheme of grants for the purpose of providing financial assistance to individual artists, arts groups and arts organisations engaged in arts projects or events at local or county level.

Grants are also available to support the arts practice and professional development of those living or working in the county.

Individual artists, arts groups and arts organisations working in all art-forms (architecture, circus, craft, dance, film, literature, music, opera, spectacle, street art, theatre, traditional arts and visual arts) are eligible to apply. Collaborative applications are also welcomed.

Applications can be made for a maximum of €10,000. However it is envisaged that the majority of grants will be in the region of €1,000 - €5,000 and only in exceptional circumstances will more than this be awarded.

Application forms are available on or by contacting

The closing date for applications in 2011 is Thursday 7th July at 12 noon.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow


ARTLINKS have announced a fund of €25,000 in bursaries for its membership in the five ArtLinks partner counties of Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow for 2011.

Each partner county has €5,000 to be awarded to a successful practitioner in the categories of dance, music, drama/theatre, literature, film and visual arts – with a minimum award to successful applicants will be €1,000. The awards are designed to support the professional development of creative practitioners, aged 18 and over, who are resident within the ArtLinks five county partnership region.

Full details of the fund, and the Bursary Application Form and Guideline Notes can be downloaded from

Deadline: 5pm on Friday 1 July 2011.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

From The Messy Middle to The End

If you are, as I am, in the messy middle of a novel, check out this course.

When: this coming Sunday 12th June

Where: Glasthule

A one-day writing course from Writing Train
Course Fee: €100

Once the initial enthusiasm of beginning has worn off (and believe me, it will wear off!) the middle of your novel can be the most difficult place to be. As characters emerge, themes develop and your writing voice becomes more distinct, you find yourself pulled in many different directions.

This one day masterclass aims to give you a set of tools and strategies to help you move beyond this tricky stage and get your novel out of your head and down onto the page. Through a series of practical exercises, workshopping and lively discussion, by the end of the day we hope you’ll feel inspired and motivated and that you’ve had some fun along the way as well!

(Course numbers limited to 8 participants).

Tutors: Yvonnes Cassidy and Cullen

Participants are asked to submit up to 2,500 words of their novel in progress in advance of the masterclass to and In addition to personalised feedback, your work will be workshopped with the group throughout the day.

Submitting in advance will ensure you get the most in-depth and individual feedback from us but don’t worry if you don’t get a chance. If you are bringing work on the day that we haven’t seen, please can you bring some extra copies (6 should do it) to ensure that everyone has a chance to input properly on your work.

Monday, 6 June 2011

June Events at The Gutter Bookshop

Book Launch for Down These Green Streets Edited by Declan Burke
Venue: The Gutter Bookshop      Date: Tuesday 7th June – 6pm until 7.30pm

‘Down These Green Streets’ is an outstanding collection of short fiction, essays and interviews that brings together 28 of Ireland’s most talented crime writers including Arlene Hunt, Brian McGilloway, Declan Hughes, Gene Kerrigan, John Banville, John Connolly, Stuart Neville and Tana French . We are delighted to be hosting the launch party where many of the contributors will be signing copies of both a paperback and a limited edition hardback. It would be criminal to miss this one! Free and everyone welcome.

You Can Heal Your Life: The Teachings of Louise L. Hay – a talk by Grainne O’Kane
Venue: The Gutter Bookshop      Date: Wednesday 8th June – 6pm until 7pm

Louise L. Hay is one of the world’s most popular practitioners of self-empowerment. Grainne O’Kane is a licensed teacher of the Heal Your Life workshops and has offered to give a free introductory talk at The Gutter Bookshop to explain how learning this method has enriched her life. This event is free but places are limited so please contact us to book a seat.

Book Launch for The Brothers Lot by Kevin Holohan
Venue: The Gutter Bookshop      Date: Wednesday 15th June – 6.30pm until 8pm

We are thrilled to be launching the debut novel from Brooklyn-based Irish writer Kevin Holohan. Already described as ‘unforgettable’ and ‘wonderfully dark’ this satirical novel explores the hypocrisy of old-school Catholic education in a down-at-heel Dublin school.  Free and everyone welcome.

Poetry Night
Venue: The Gutter Bookshop      Date: Thursday 16th June - 6pm until 7.15pm

If you enjoy reading, listening to, or writing your own poetry come along to our Poetry Night. Attendees can read from their own work, or from poets they admire or if you prefer you can simple come along to listen.  Free and everyone welcome.

Independent Bookseller’s Week – Saturday 18th to Saturday 25th June

We are proud to be an independent bookshop and we’ll be celebrating this year’s Independent Bookseller’s Week. See for more information on this annual event.

Book Launch for Sustenance by Elizabeth Wassell
Venue: The Gutter Bookshop      Date: Tuesday 21st June – 6pm until 7.30pm

We are delighted to welcome Elizabeth Wassell back to The Gutter Bookshop following our launch for her last book ‘Dangerous Pity’ in 2010. Her new novel centres on Lily, an American food critic living in Dublin, whose tumultuous past threatens to catch up and overwhelm her present. Free and everyone welcome.

Temple Bar Cultural Trust Get Active Book Club for the Over 55s
Venue: The Gutter Bookshop      Date: Thursday 23rd June – 11am until 12.15pm

‘Cutting for Stone’ is the Get Active book choice for June. This bookclub is organized by the Temple Bar Cultural Trust as part of their Get Active programme for the active retired. If you are interested in joining please see for full details.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Poem for Poetry Jam

I haven't been in the Poetry Jam since it's inauguration but I've a few pieces about swimming, mainly composed with my head in the water so this week's prompt here sent me scurrying back.

Update: Removed for reworking