Aleppo in Poems & Pictures at the Mary Evans Picture Library

This week one of ‘the childer’ got to show off with a photo from the Mary Evans Picture Library in London.

To be a part of their Poems and Pictures blog was on my bucket list, and I was so chuffed to receive an invitation to contribute a poem.

I nearly didn’t get it, however. Gill Stoker from the Mary Evans Library had contacted me via Facebook Messenger – and the message went into a Messenger black hole. I found it, and a few others, nearly six months later! (This is yet another reason why I hate Messenger and won’t have it on my phone.)

I contacted Gill, who was still happy for me to choose a picture from their collection and send her a poem to go with it. I spent ages looking at illustrations and photos, eventually choosing a photo of a mosque in Aleppo. I teamed it with ‘The Elsewhere Moment’ from This Little World (Doire Press).

I’ll write a brand new poem the next time. Now, here is this week’s Poem & Picture:

https://www.maryevans.com/poetryblog.php?post_id=10952

The Western Skyline Podcast – 20 April 2019

News from KAVA artists group, and of a poetry reading in Galway by the Seven Sisters poets, an Easter egg hunt in the Burren Sanctuary, Classical music for Easter by Handel, Bach, Vaughan Williams, Taverner, Morley, and some Orthodox chant. A poem, ‘Aubade’, and a dedication to murdered journalist, Lyra McKee

The Western Skyline Podcast – 06 April 2019

On The Western Skyline – a film music special:

Most featured composer: Thomas Newman. Music also from films by Quentin Tarantino, and composers Gabriel Yared, Hans Zimmer. And, a Mozart aria sung by Renée Fleming & Cecilia Bartoli, and a Verdi theme arranged by Jean- Claude Petit.
Some local arts news, and new of the Cúirt International Festival of Literature.

This is one to enjoy by the fire with a cuppa, or a glass of wine.

#WorldPoetryDay

It’s World Poetry Day!

Here’s an offering from my poetry collection, This Little World (Doire Press)                                The path of poetry doesn’t always run smooth!

Birthing

Not away on a mystery

train. First class. Fine

coffee, and a book

in my hand.

 

No. Stuck.

Here with a

weighting inside me

cutting off the flow.

 

Birthing.

 

Not always joyful.

Forceping dactyls.

Similes I’ll never like.

Elusive adjectives.

 

Stillborn. Or an awkward

child, mutinous in the face

of inadequacy.

And, all the overcompensation.

© Karen J McDonnell

Sunday Miscellany: alive, alive – Oh!

A couple of posts back, I scribbled a quick note before I headed into the Ennis Book Club Festival.

Well, I’m happy to report that it was a lovely weekend. The visitors to Ennis really seemed to enjoy themselves. As I grew up in the place, I feel proud that the whole town takes the Festival and visitors to heart. Local businesses had some fantastic book-themed window displays.

Our ‘Seven Sisters’  poetry reading at the Record Break Café was standing room only – we were delighted with the turnout and the audience response. It was lovely to welcome EBCF attendees to Sinéad’s venue, as well as our usual faithful supporters. This year’s readers were Sinéad Ní Síoda, Deirdre Devally, Nicki Griffin, Ruth Marshall, Mary-Ellen Fean, Deborah Ryan, and yours truly.

The Seven Sisters after our EBCF reading at the Record Break Café Photo. Ruth Marshall

I also managed to get to hear Thomas Lynch, in the lovely setting of  St Columba’s Church. By the way: If any of you are around this evening at 6.30pm, Tom will be reading at a Salmon Bookshop gig in Oh La La café in Ennistymon with Stephen Powers and Rain Leon.  I’d already committed to something else and am really sad I can’t be there. It will be a stonkin’ reading.

Ennis Book Club Festival 2019. Photograph by Eamon Ward

The biggie for me was the live recording of RTÉ Radio One’s Sunday Miscellany, which happened on Sunday morning. I was excited and nervous in equal measure. It was a trio of firsts for me:  first time I appeared on the stage in Glór, first live recording, and also my first ‘essay’ for Sunday Miscellany. There was some fine writing, and wonderful music. My thanks to producer Sarah Binchy, and to Carolyn Dempsey for making it all so easy. Also to Cora Gunter of EBCF whose enthusiasm was infectious. Most of the contributions were broadcast last Sunday the 10th of March, including The Hanging Sheriff by Mae Leonard; My First Pint by Joe Ó Muircheartaigh; Preventive Measures, a poem by Caoilinn Hughes; Growing up in Miltown by John Hurley; and Joe Ninety, by Dee Collins    – here’s a link to the podcast https://www.rte.ie/radio1/sunday-miscellany/#103062434

Sunday Miscellany at Glor during the Ennis Book Club Festival. Photograph by Eamon Ward

My own radio essay will be broadcast this coming Sunday, St Patrick’s Day, so keep an ear out for it! I’ll put up a link here, when the podcast is up on the RTÉ website: https://www.rte.ie/radio1/sunday-miscellany/#103067788

Sunday Miscellany at Glor during the Ennis Book Club Festival. Photograph by Eamon Ward

Do listen out for Niall Allsop’s essay on the 24th, and a lovely tribute to her grandmother by Margaret Hickey on Mother’s Day, the 31st March.

The Western Skyline Podcast – 09 March 2019

Here, I’m joined on The Western Skyline by Aoife Reilly, a writer living and working in Co. Galway. Aoife chats about her writing process and reads poems from her pamphlet ‘Lilac & Gooseberries’, which is published by Lapwing Press.  You can read more about her here: https://aoifereilly.com/ It was great to have a live reading in the studio!

Some Arts news also on the show, and music from Coldplay, Keith, The Monkees, Bruce Hornsby & the Range, Carole King, and Bob Dylan.

The Western Skyline Podcast – 23 February 2019

This was a first for me on the show – featuring a complete musical work. I hope you enjoy the result.

A special on The Western Skyline – a programme devoted to Gránuaile, or Grace O’Malley. Featuring the Gránuaile Suite composed by Shaun Davey and sung by Rita Connolly, with a 32 piece orchestra, Donal Lunny and Liam Óg O’Flynn. The suite takes us through Grace’s life from childhood to the meeting with another great woman of her age – Elizabeth l – to an ending, back on the coast of Mayo.
Check out this site run by Grace’s biographer, Anne Chambers: http://www.graceomalley.com/

A Festival of Writing; A Festival of Reading

Image result for ennis book club festival 2019

If it’s the first weekend in March, it can only mean one thing – it’s time for the Ennis Book Club Festival.

And this year, thank goodness, there’s no Storm Emma dumping tons of snow on the country to cancel the whole thing.  Storm Freya is approaching from the south though, but so far all we have had to deal with is LOTS of rain. And hey! – a book festival is mostly indoors anyhoo!

Yesterday, I joined my companeros in the Poetry Collective, and other poetry lovers, for the monthly First Friday in the library in Ennis. We had a great crowd – the interest is growing for this monthly event. Thanks to Martin Vernon who is such a good host, and who read a lovely poem in memory of his sister. AND who brought a lovely vase of daffodils and treated us to Wordsworth’s poem. A lovely Spring reading.

Then to St Columba’s church to hear Thomas Lynch speak on death and grief and memory. He got a wonderful introduction from writer Grace Wells. Then he mused on the loss of writers Philip Casey, Macdara Woods, Dennis O’Driscoll, Seamus Heaney and Matthew Sweeney – such a rollcall of the lost.  But the work remains.  Thank you, Tom, for your company and gracious words.

And now, I must sign off and head into Ennis again. This morning it’s the tradition to go to ’10 Books You Should Read’  with my mother.  In the afternoon, I join my sister poets for a #Fired inspired reading in the Record Break Café –  The Seven Sisters.  As with last year, we will read some of our own work, but also work by Irish poets who have been neglected in the last hundred years or so.  This year I’m reading work by Helen Waddell.

After last year’s cancellation, it’s a joy to be joining in the live recording of RTÉ radio’s live recording of Sunday Miscellany. That takes place in Glór at 11.30am. There may be a few tickets left for the early birds!

And so – to the Festival!