Saturday, 28 February 2015

Ennis Book Club Festival

The 2015 Ennis Book Club Festival Programme offers a good mix of poetry, politics and fiction. Readers from all over are invited to get together in Ennis to share their joy of reading, to meet authors, to discuss books and to have a weekend break with friends.
This year we've got: Catalpa performed by Donal O Kelly on Friday night 6th March following the Festival launch by author and RTE presenter Evelyn O Rourke.
Denis Sampson will pay us a visit to read from his memoir The Migrant Heart, recounting his journey from East Clare where he grew up to Canada where he now lives. 
On Saturday morning, our very special guests, Joseph O'Connor and Evelyn O'Rourke tell us about the '10 books that you should read'. Joe joins us by arrangement with the Creative Writing programme at the University of Limerick.
We have a lyrical lunch with some of Ireland's favourite poets - Eiléan Ní ChuilleanáinPeter Fallon and Michael Coady.
Clare resident and award winning Niall Williams reads from and discusses his work in the company of Mary Costello whose recent Academy Street has wowed critics and readers alike.
In a very special ‘Ones to Watch’ session we feature Colin BarrettSarah Baumeand Nuala Ní Chonchúir who are on track to be national and international literary sensations.
Michael Smith makes a return trip to Ennis with his much admired, recently published Shackleton - By Endurance We Conquer. 
Seán Rocks once again joins us for our centre stage at glór event and this year we are delighted to host acclaimed crime writer and novelist, Val McDermid together with Paul Carson.
The theme of this year's Sunday Symposium in glór is Politics and Pathology, which will explore ‘life in the trenches’ for your average Irish politician. Have you ever asked yourself why, in the face of inevitable failure, people choose politics as a career? Our panellists including Des O'Malley, former PD leader;Professor Gary Murphy of DCU; Mick Clifford, of The Irish Examiner; and Katie Hannon from RTE’s Prime Time offer some insights.
Tickets are on sale at glór, Ennis, Co. Clare

Friday, 27 February 2015

Call for contributions – Magma 63 on the theme of ‘Conversation’

Magma want you to share your poems on the theme of ‘Conversation’ with us to be published in Magma 63. They say
We’d like you to explore all kinds of conversations in your poems.  Conversations can be trivial and gossipy or difficult and unsettling.  Is there a dreaded ‘conversation’ you need to have or one form your past you wish you couldn’t remember?  
deadline is 30 May 2015.

More here 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Poems on a Sunday Afternoon

Poems on a Sunday Afternoon returns once again to Down Arts Centre this Sunday 22nd February at 2:30pm, hosted by Olive Broderick with guest reader, Downpatrick's own Damian Smyth.
You are warmly welcomed to ‘Poems on a Sunday Afternoon’ at Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, on Sunday (22nd February 2015, 2.30-4.30pm). 
The heart of this event has always been a friendly space to share your work and as always writers, readers, singers are invited to join us in celebrating the written word in all its forms. We hope that as before, those gathered will share a piece of their own work, or perhaps a favourite poem.

In our featured spot this time, we are privileged to present (and not before time), renowned poet Damian Smyth, whose five collections focus on his home town of Downpatrick. His first collection, Downpatrick Races (Lagan Press), appeared in 2000. A stage play, Soldiers of the Queen, following the fortunes of family members from the Boer War to the Troubles in Northern Ireland, played the Belfast Festival at Queen’s in 2002 and was published the following year.

His second collection, The Down Recorder – an epic poem drawing on news stories in the local newspaper over 150 years – appeared in 2004. Both Lamentations, a sequence of 70 brief elegies, and Market Street, appeared in 2010.

He has edited and introduced Joseph Tomelty: Collected Plays (2011), Martin Lynch: Three Plays (1996) and John Hewitt: Two Plays (2000), all reflecting a commitment to the regional ethos in Ulster. A poetry pamphlet, Apparitions: A Hurricane appeared from Templar in 2013 and his fifth full collection, Mesopotamia, was published by the same publisher in May 2014. His work is also widely anthologised.
Hope to see you there!
The following PoSA is on Sunday 26th of April 2015.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

cross-stream: ways of writing

cross-stream: ways of writing is a series of talks from a diverse group of outstanding contemporary poets discussing the compositional process behind one of their poems. 

Produced in partnership with Fingal Libraries, these talks / presentations offer a unique opportunity for poetry audiences, writers, students and general readers to gain an insight into the range of approaches towards writing. 

Taking place in various library branches over four weeks in February and March, these events are all free admission and start at 6.30pm. They will also include Q&A sessions.

Tuesday 17 February 2015
Baldoyle Library
Maurice Scully & Enda Coyle-Greene

Wednesday 25 February 2015
Donabate Library
Harry Clifton & Susan Connolly

Tuesday 3 March 2015
Blanchardstown Library
Pat Boran & Karl Parkinson

Tuesday 10 March 2015
Malahide Library

Máighréad Medbh & Alan Jude Moore

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Submissions sought for a poetry anthology in aid of The RNLI

The Sea is an upcoming poetry anthology in aid of The RNLI. The Sea will feature poems from established and emerging writers from Ireland and further afield with the theme of the sea. The anthology also includes photographs capturing the outstanding work undertaken by the brave men and women of The RNLI.

All proceeds from the anthology will go directly to The RNLI. 

A dedicated team of published writers have been entrusted with the arduous task of selecting which poems will feature in this poetry collection.

Deadline: March 15th 2015.

Submit to

The Sea will be available for purchase this coming May.

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbour. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”. - Mark Twain

Thursday, 19 February 2015

2015 Writers’ Residency in Birr, Co. Offaly

Following a successful pilot in 2014 in which writers Mary Russell, Iggy McGovern and Orfhlaith Foyle were the inaugural recipients, applications are now sought for the 2015 Writers’ Residency in Birr, Co. Offaly.

The opportunity is for professional writers who are seeking a short break from daily routines; it is for those who feel the need to re-invigorate themselves into completing current work; and it is also for writers who may simply need inspiration, through a change of place and stimuli.

What is Included:
The bursary provides for 4 writers to receive one week’s accommodation in St. Brendan House/Tin Jug Studio with breakfast each morning and two evening suppers provided.
Length of Stay: 6 nights/7 days
Facilities: WiFi internet connections throughout, a small writing table in each of the bedrooms and an elegant drawing room with a writing desk. Herbal teas and biscuits are available in the guest area at all times. Writers may prefer to work in the studio or gallery or nearby library.

Dates: JULY Monday 6th – Sunday 12th July or OCTOBER Monday 5th to Sunday 11th October. 
Some flexibility of a day or two either side of these weeks could be accommodated.

Transport/travel costs are the writers’ own.

Who May Apply? The residency bursary is open to professional published writers of any genre such as literary fiction, poetry, playwrights, journalism or travel writing. There are four places available, for newly published or experienced writers. International writers may apply, and as above, their travel costs are their own.

Deadline: Friday 27 February 2015 at 3pm

For application requirements and more info check out

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Ambit Submissions

Deadline: 28th February

Monday, 16 February 2015

Cork Spring Literary Festival

Got down to Cork by half nine on the Friday (driving rain, high sided vehicles) so missed the reading by Douglas Dunn and Peter Fallen, which was by all accounts moving. 

Greatly enjoyed Liz Berry, a poet from The Black Country. Her collection of that name honours the thick accent from that area. I used to say my g's that way but the guts of it fell away somewhere in the Irish Sea. Passionate and tender. She's reading at the Poetry Now festival next month with Dalgit Nagra, who I believe nudged her into writing with her mother tongue. She's also running a workshop there. Highly recommended and my highlight of the festival.

Liz was followed by Don Share, a Memphis poet who has written about willfully losing his own southern accent to replace it with a more worldly NY one. Also the editor of Poetry magazine and a fine, astute poet. He was teaching a masterclass all week and the survivors were relishing it - full immersion. 


A feast of poetry. By the end I was drowning in words.

2:30pm a Southword Magazine Showcase.
Patrick Cotter, the engine of Munster Literature Centre and the festival explained some of the history of the online magazine then we had readings from a selection of recently published poets including Graham Allen, Roisin Kelly, Marie Naughton, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Colette Olney, John W Sexton and Michael Sheehan. You can read poems from all of them on the website.
Doireann Ní Ghríofa

First the winner of the Gregory O'Donoghue Prize was announced, the first Irish poet in 4 years, judged by Matthew Sweeney
Patrick Cotterthe director of the centre gave us some information about the competition. It's one of the main financing sources for the various undertakings of the centre, including the Southword magazine. More than 50% of the entries are from the USA. There are hundreds of MFA courses taught there which appears to be raising the bar somewhat. (Although I think there's a fair amount of same-y poetry written there to please their tutors. Discuss...) There were about 1,400 entries.

The winner, Breda Wall Ryan read her winning poem Self Portrait in the Convex Bulge of a Hare's Eye, a dense and worthy winner from her brand new, hot off the press debut collection In a Hare's Eye from Doire Press. We were lucky enough to have rush releases of the book in Cork so I have my copy now.

This was followed by the pre-booked readings, a selection of poets who are regularly published in periodicals but have yet to publish a complete collection. Forty poets applied. More info on the selected poets here.
Jane Clarke read some assured poems from her forth-coming collection from Bloodaxe Books. 
Stephen Connolly read some poems including a series of short poems on the Northern Ireland public transport system.

Andrew Eaton was another poet living in Belfast. 

Roisin Kelly read a poem with a memorable last line on having weed for breakfast.

Paul McMahon who I saw read at Poetry Ireland Introductions, with an impressive publishing record including winning the Ballymaloe poetry prize. He finished with a strong poem Milltown Cemetery, Belfast, March 16th

Jennifer Matthews, the organising heart of the centre, introducing the next readings. 

Tom French read some lovely poems inspired by the Ordinance Survey maps and family and local history research in the Co Meath public library system.
David Wheatley read some poems in the Doric dialect of Aberdeen. I did recognise most of the words but it was tough keeping up. 

Emily Berry read some poems from her collection Dear Boy. She was, I think, nervous but I've been told the poems off the page are very good. 
She was followed by a Canadian, Newfoundland poet Michael Crummery who was witty and touching.

Leanne O'Sullivan gave a generous introduction to poets Lavinia Greenlaw and Jo Shapcott who as long time professionals finished the festival off in style.

Lovely to meet up with other friends, old and new from the Poetry world including Alice Lyons, curator of Poetry Now, Eleanor Hooker from Dromineer festival, Aifric McGinchy, Victoria Kennefick the winner, along with Virginia Astley won the Fool For Poetry Competition and launched her chapbook White Whale, Billy Ramsell, Paula Cunningham, Caleb Brennan, Kevin Conroy, Paul Casey and Michael Farry.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Dedalus Press - Book Launch

Gerard Smyth’s new collection, A Song of Elsewhere, will be launched by Dedalus Press on Monday February 23rd in the Teachers’ Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin, at 7pm.

All welcome.

 It will be launched along with God in Winter by Padraig J Daly, another Dedalus author. Many of the new poems in A Song of Elsewhere are set in places beyond his native Dublin with which his work is usually associated. While Dublin might still be present as a “hunting ground for life’s necessities”, the interaction with a wider geographical world ( Paris, Lisbon, Moscow and, in particular, the American Midwest feature prominently ) brings new perspective. Many of the poems also pay homage to the song and music soundtrack that Smyth has heard “coming out of the ether” since he first heard “the sorceries of the blues guitarist” in the 1960s.

For a taste of earlier poems, check his website here.

There's a lovely reading of his poem, Survivors by Owen Roe and others if you have a poke around.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Yes But Is It Poetry - talks

A series consisting of four events, each featuring two outstanding contemporary poets writing out of different poetic traditions (e.g. lyrical, cosmopolitan, experimental, performance) discussing the compositional process behind one of their poems. All events will include a Q&A session.

This is a unique opportunity for poetry audiences, writers, students and general readers to gain an insight into the diversity of methods and range of approaches towards writing.

Tuesday 17 February 2015
Baldoyle Library
Maurice Scully & Enda Coyle-Greene

Wednesday 25 February 2015
Donabate Library
Harry Clifton & Susan Connolly

Tuesday 3 March 2015
Blanchardstown Library
Pat Boran & Karl Parkinson

Tuesday 10 March 2015
Malahide Library
Máighréad Medbh & Alan Jude Moore

Start time for all events is 6.30pm.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Cork Spring Poetry Festival


The Cork Spring Poetry Festival, hosted by the Munster Literature Centre, is taking place 11th – 14th February. They have a host of super events and workshops (mostly booked up by this late stage) The programme is packed but here are some (personal) highlights:

Wednesday 11th February
Book launch: Fool For Poetry chapbooks by Victoria Kennefick & Virginia Astley. 
2.30PM. at Cork City Library Admission: FREE.

Irish Examiner Poems reading 
4PM at the Farmgate Café, English Market. Admission: FREE with purchase of a beverage.

Grace Wells & Shoshana Wingate 
7PM. at Cork Arts Theatre Admission: €8 full price / €6 concs.

Thursday 12th February
Penny Dreadful Magazine focus
4PM. Venue: Cork City Library Admission: FREE.

Poetry Bus Magazine focus 
7PM. at Cork Arts Theatre Admission €5 or free with magazine purchase.

Friday 13th February
Liz Berry & Don Share 
10PM. at Cork Arts Theatre Admission: €8 full price / €6 concs.

Saturday 14th February
Southword Journal focus 
2.30PM. at Cork Arts Theatre Admission: FREE.

Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Prizegiving & Prebooked 'Introductions' reading 
4PM. at Cork Arts Theatre Admission: €6 full price / €5 concs.

Lavinia Greenlaw & Jo Shapcott 
10PM. at Cork Arts Theatre Admission: €10 full price / €8 concs.

Visit for more information and to choose your own itinerary.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Trócaire and Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition 2015

Poetry Ireland and Trócaire are proud to announce their fourth joint poetry competition. The theme for this year’s competition is ‘Feeling the Heat’. 

You can read all the winning poems from last year’s competition here.

Entries are invited from both published and emerging poets, in English and Irish, with special categories for younger entrants and a Spoken Word category for performance poetry. Poets can submit up to three poems each, and entry is free.

Open to residents on the island of Ireland only
Poems must have a title and not exceed 30 lines in length (excluding title).

You can download the entry form from here

Deadline: Friday 13 March 2015

More details here on

Saturday, 7 February 2015

The Philip Larkin Society & East Riding Poetry Prize 2015

Bridlington Poetry Festival 19–21 June 2015

The Philip Larkin Society and East Riding Poetry Competition is now open for entries.

Shortlisted entries will be judged by the poet, Jean Sprackland.

That means the entries are filtered, possibly by committee.

Poems are submitted anonymously so each entry is judged on its own merits.

Winners and commended poets will be invited to read their poems at the Bridlington Poetry Festival (19-21 June 2015) in the company of some of the UK’s finest poets.

Each poem must be no longer than 45 lines and maybe on any subject or in any style.

£4.00 entry fee per poem.

Deadline: 10 April 2015

Snailmail with a cheque only so I'd guess the number of entries will be lower. Link here

For more information visit
Twitter @bridpoetryfest
Facebook /bridlingtonpoetryfestival

Thursday, 5 February 2015

The People’s College/Roberts Short Story Competition

The People’s College, Adult Education Association, is a voluntary body with the status of charitable organisation. Set up 1948, to provide workers’ education, it continues to provide general adult education – languages, social political studies, literature, art appreciation and cultural activities as well as personal development and communication skills – for trade unionists, their families and the general public.

The Roberts Short Story Competition has been established in memory of Ruaidhrí Roberts, founder of the People’s College, and of his wife, Nora Roberts. This competition is for previously unpublished stories of up to 2,500 words on any subject.

1st prize: €1,000 2nd prize €750 3rd prize: €500

Judge: award-winning author Niamh Boyce.

Winning entries will be published on the College website and the first prize-winner will also be published in the 2015 College newsletter.

Entry fee €10 per entry.

Deadline: February 28th 2015

More details here

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Rethink You Mind Competition

This is an interesting competition open to all residents of UK and Ireland. It's promoting positive mental health.

Deadline: 15th February 2015

They are looking for poetry and images responding to the brief of: ‘I feel better when I am’. The competition is centred in positivity and any work that is not deemed to fit this requirement will not be published.

Up to 2 entries per category per person are permitted. Free to enter.

48 pieces of art, photography and poetry selected from this years entries will be published in the yellow book a publication from the rethinkyourmind project. It is created by those with experience of mental health challenges and endorsed by professionals. The book hopes to educate, aid and support.

The prizes will be presented on 24 June 2015 at ‘The Cholmondeley Room’, House of Lords, London.

Other terms and conditions link here

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Stinging Fly Submissions

The Stinging Fly are accepting submissions during the month of February 2015.

Submissions received will be considered for the Winter 2015/16 issue, to be published in October 2015.

They are taking short stories as usual but Poetry submissions for this round will be read by guest poetry editor, Billy Ramsell.

Personally I'm quite a fan of Billy Ramsell's poetry. I read his collection The Architect’s Dream of Winter (Dedalus, 2013), and there were some knock out poems on a wide range of subjects not normally used for poetic interrogation. Recommended to buy at Dedalus site.

Billy was awarded Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary in 2013

Go to this link to read Billy's statement on what he looks for in a submission.

Certainly an anecdote chopped into lines won't make the cut. If the poem works as prose, it may not be a poem. You have a plethora or magically poetic devices and language playmates. Use them. Have a look at your own poems and see if you can spot some you've written like this. I have a few.

  • Review, 
  • Read Aloud, 
  • Be Ruthless, 
  • Rewrite! 
  • You can always Recycle at a later date.
Deadline: 28th February 2015