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.
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.
Photo: The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Ireland.
I’ve been preparing the manuscript of my first poetry collection. And I invested in a week at beautiful Annaghmakerrig to give myself a good run at re-drafting newer poems, as well as looking over the older ones. Of course, being where I was, the first thing I did after unpacking was to sit down and write a new poem. It was a great start to the week and set me up well for the next day’s writing. No trips off on the gatch this time, apart to Newbliss for the newspaper.
It was wonderful being back in ‘my old room’! They’re very good to me in that place. I had tweeted Miss Warby to let her know I was on my way. She tweeted ‘Welcome, darling.’ when I arrived! Spoilt, I was, pure spoilt. It was lovely to meet a whole new bunch of people – artists and writers, musicians and a dancer. But, typical in Ireland, it turned out that the writer Liz Nugent and I had met – many moons ago! A long story, and you’re not getting it here. The nightly dinners were a joy – great food and conversation – sometimes presided over by the Centre’s director, Rob. Many thanks to vegetarian Helen who was our cook on St. Paddy’s Day. she went beyond the call of duty: The ham was scrummmmmy.
Home to reality, and writing, writing, writing. But also a moment or two to enjoy the fact that Marie Lecrivain, guest editor at Al-Khemia Poeticahad published my contribution for National Women’s Day in the U.S., and on St. Patrick’s Day at that. Nice one, Marie.
Also came news that my poem, ‘A Bad Dose’, had been shortlisted for Cúirt/UCHG Poems for Patience, 2017. I was delighted. And a tie this year – well done to poets Lorna Shaughnessy and Marie Cadden on their joint win. Both of their poems will be printed and hung in University Hospital Galway. It’s a great idea, I think.
This week I’m formatting the manuscript and this is what I was doing two mornings ago:
Each slip of paper is a title of a poem. Talk about getting into shape!
Yes, I’m heading back. To the house, the lake, the lovely staff and – if the vibes are all aligned – perhaps a meeting with Miss Worby, the resident ghost.
I’ll be redrafting and making the final push towards my first collection: This Little World.
The dreaded lurgy has been getting me down for the past few days, but the antibiotics are kicking in and I can’t wait to get up to Annaghmakerrig. (For more about this wonderful artists’ residence, have a look at Forward! Retreat! – Part the Second on my Writer’s Blog above.)
Now, I must away to pack my books, notebooks, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.