A Residency in a Writer’s Paradise

NEWSFLASH!

It’s official now, so I can say that I’m delighted and grateful to have been awarded a 2020 Tyrone Guthrie Bursary from Clare County Council/Clare Arts Office.

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This bursary is especially sweet this year as COVID 19 meant that plans I had made to go to Annaghmakerrig in April had to be abandoned – as was the workshop that would have provided some of the means of paying for my stay!

At the time of writing, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre is still closed, so I’ll have to wait a while longer before I head back up to ‘Paradise’ in the drumlins of Co. Monaghan. It’s lovely to have that to look forward to; to have something to work towards. Right now, I’m researching and drafting work for my next collection of poetry: a response to the magnificent collections held by the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin.

By the time I get to use my residency there should be a body of work to redraft and edit.

HUP!

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Photo: The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Ireland.

 

Springing into action #Ennis Book Club Festival 2020

 

Well, it’s hard to believe that another Ennis Book Club Festival is upon us – but it is!

The Seven Sisters poets are part of the programme again this year, and we will be reading in The Record Break Café – our home from poetry home – from 5pm on Saturday 7 March.

There were five of us scheduled – but Nicki is away, so you’ll have to make do with Ruth, Deirdre, Sinéad, and me.

We promise work in response to books, and other poems. I also hope to read some work from a few female poets:  after all, Sunday is International Women’s Day!

Seven Sisters Poets/EBCF

We’ll be going for a while, so if you are free at 4pm, and want a balance of poetry and prose in your afternoon, may I suggest that you take in the gig below:

Hilary Fannin and Rachael English will be in conversation with Nessa O’Mahony, at St Columba’s Church on Bindon Street. No better women!

Then run up and join us in the Record Break Café for poetry. Sure, what more could you ask for?

The Western Skyline Podcast – Spring Podcasts

We go by the old Irish/pagan calendar on this website!  Spring is February, March, & April.

FEBRUARY 2020

Kinvara-based poet Mary Madec joined me on the Western Skyline to discuss poetry, the other work!, and to read from her new collection The Egret Lands With News From Other Parts (Salmon Publishing). Mary also read several of poems from earlier collections. Good music too, of course, and the show is book-ended with arts news.
Not bad going, considering the studio had had a technical meltdown! Hope you enjoy the show.

Burns, baby, Burns! – Readings for #BurnsNight

Burns Night reading at Banner Books

I’m really looking forward to this – as listener as much as reader!

Ruth Marshall – one of our Seven Sisters Poets – and I will be reading on Burns Night in Banner Books, Ennistymon. It’s all happening this coming Saturday the 25th, 6-8pm.  Sally, the owner,  is promising a wee dram and vegan ‘haggis’, so what’s keeping you?  PLUS Bookshop Dog may be in attendance.

Ruth is from Scotland, so in my eyes she’s a Burns expert.  She’s a great performer of her own work, and I’d say she’ll do Robbie proud.

We’ll both read some of our own work as well.  I’ll just give you one or two Burns poems – maybe even sing a verse, if I can keep my nerve.

Photo © Banner Books

Follow Banner Books on Twitter and like their Facebook Page – and if you’re in north Clare, drop in. Sally has a great selection of new and old books, great cards, and quirky gifts too.

 

 

The Western Skyline Podcast – Winter Podcasts

NOVEMBER 2019

In the run up to Christmas on this podcast of the Western Skyline we look at Christmas events and concerts, and suggest a few gifts for the arts lovers in your life. There’s music from The Cranberries, The Cure, Sigrid, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Doobie Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, and -well, we just had to! – Joni Mitchell

[For some weird reason this podcast uploaded on to the mixcloud of one of the Kinvara FM gang – but it’s still Kinvara FM radio work!]

 

DECEMBER 2019

On the last Western Skyline of 2019 we look at New Year’s customs around the world, there’s news of local arts events, & music from The Travelling Wilburys, Carly Simon, Taylor Swift, ABBA, the Beatles, and Aimee Mann. Here’s to 2020!

JANUARY 2020

On the first Western Skyline of 2020 I was joined by well-known artist Christopher Banahan, who has just published two children’s books which he both wrote & illustrated. Chris’s Zurich Prize shortlisted self-portrait is also on exhibition at the moment in Cork. News of theatre in Galway – as Gaeilge ‘s Bearla – and local art exhibitions. Two tracks from David Bowie (Chris’s choice and also used in the soundtrack of Jo Jo Rabbit – a must-see film). Music too from Lynard Skynard, Buffalo Springfield, & Nina Simone,

Winter Poetry – warming the soul

Hope some of you can join four of the seven sisters for an evening of poetry next Friday in the library in Shannon. Readings kick off at 7pm.

I’ll read some of my own work – but also other poets’ winter offerings.

Do come along for an evening of poetry, before the Christmas mayhem begins!

(Thanks to Ruth for the great poster!)

When Push comes to Cart!

One of my poems has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and I’m thrilled!

Editor Marie C Lecrivain nominated ‘Scent’ from the anthology Gondal Heights, which was published in Los Angeles earlier this year. The anthology features prose, poetry, and art responding to the work of the Brontë women and their brother.

‘Scent’ is written from the point of view of Mr Rochester’s dog, Pilot.ë

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46226738-gondal-heights

 

The Western Skyline Podcast – Autumn podcasts

There was no Western Skyline in August as the I was working on the day it was due to go out. And as it was a live outside broadcast during the Cruinniú na mBád weekend … well, I couldn’t even pre-record a show for you!

So, here are links to the two Autumn shows:

05 OCTOBER 2019

October’s show showcased the debut album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Brigid O’Neill, and there’s news of festivals for children and adults, new exhibitions, and a preview of the Kinvara Talks. Plus the long-promised play of Hurricane and other great tracks from Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, & Bruce Springsteen,.

07 SEPTEMBER 2019

Marion Cox dropped into the studio to chat about this year’s Lady Gregory/Yeats Autumn Gathering. There’s more arts news, and music from Badly Drawn Boy, Paul Simon, Annie Lennox, Billy Joel, and Paul Weller. Enjoy!

The Wonder Workshop – and a new precept!

Prepping my Wonder workshop. Under supervision!

A few weeks ago, I was asked by Clare County Library would I give a poetry workshop based around the book Wonder by RJ Palacio.  Halimah, a teacher from Ennistymon Vocational School, had approached them with the request.

At first, I was hesitant: writing poetry around another book? Would that be restrictive? How to cram a  workshop around a few hundred pages when I’ve only got 90 minutes to do so? And I don’t have children. Wonder had slipped under my radar. I watched an interview with the author on youtube.

I told Dolores in the library service that I’d develop something around several themes, especially that of bullying. [Coincidentally, this week the call-in show on our national radio station is full of adults talking about bullying: their own or their children’s; even now-grown-up bullies who have sought out their childhood victims to apologise. These discussions and stories are happening while their children are in school.]

The other thing I said was that the children would have to have read the whole book!

Well, I needn’t have worried on that score. I soon learned from a Facebook post by Banner Books in Ennistymon that this was very much a community read.  A ‘One Book, One Community’ project in fact.

The One Book, One Community has a programme of events around Wonder:
Readings with local primary schools
Poster competition with local primary schools
Ennistymon Vocational School afternoon tea book club on 13 November at the Falls Hotel & Spa
EVS Poetry workshop on 14 November [That would be me, I guess!]
EVS Coffee morning on 19 November
Wonder film showing at the Falls Hotel on 22 November to round off the whole project.

AND SO … tomorrow I head to Ennistymon to give two workshops to over forty First Years from Ennistymon Vocational School. It’s a couple of firsts for me: my first secondary-school poetry workshops, and the first time that I’ve specifically designed a workshop around a theme – let alone another genre of writing!

Thanks, Ennistymon and thanks, Clare County Library Service. It’s good to be pushed beyond our comfort zones. That’s today’s precept. I’m sure Auggie would approve.

Image result for wonder book

Best of the Net 2019: and the nominees are …

During National Poetry Month in April this year, I had two poems published with Al-Khemia Poetica in the US.

I’ve just heard from the editor, Marie Lecrivain, that ‘An Invitation to the Late Mr Yeats’  has been nominated for Best of the Net, 2019.  Delira & excira, so I am!

If you’re interested, you can buy last year’s Best of the Net Anthology here 

Here’s a  link to the original post on Al-Khemia Poetica:

http://alkhemiapoetica.blogspot.com/2019/04/karen-j-mcdonnell-two-poems-invitation.html