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 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

The Western Skyline Podcast – Summer podcasts

Dearie me! Where has the summer gone? I hope it has been just peachy for all of you.

Time to get up to date with the podcasts from The Western Skyline. Due to writing and life commitments, the show is being broadcast on a monthly basis since June. Here’s what we’ve been getting up to this summer:

13 JULY 2019

Some arts info on this mid-summer Western Skyline, but July’s show is mostly about the music: Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, One Republic, Fleetwood Mac – and it wouldn’t be summer for me without a does of the Spencer Davis Group.
Enjoy. I’ll be back in September as my August slot is during the Cruinniu Festival – and I’ll be working elsewhere!

15 JUNE 2019

Eilis Haden-Storrie dropped in on The Western Skyline for a chat about her book launch. Spotlight is on this year’s Galway Intl Arts Festival, with music from ABC, David Bowie, Kim Wilde, Howard Jones, Joy Division, Blue Oyster Cult, and The Hothouse Flowers. Plus more local arts news.

 

18 MAY 2019

On the show I was joined by four members of The Poetry Collective – poets based mainly in counties Clare & Galway.
Patrick Stack, Knute Skinner, Mary Ellen Fean, & Fred Johnston discuss, and read from, their work. There’s some arts news, and the music is from the Middle East and Africa: Senegal, Egypt, Libya, Palestine and Jordan. A wee change from the Eurovision, which happened to be on that night. Ahem.

 

04 MAY 2019

On The Western Skyline we looked at Fleadh na gCuach as it happened in Kinvara, the forthcoming Galway Theatre Festival, and committee member Tonii Kelly dropped by to chat about the new HEART of Gort Festival taking place on 17/18th May. Plus lots of great music, and news of an arts opportunity for young Co Galway people!

Poet’s Corner Readings – June 2019

 

Cover for This Little World
© Karen J McDonnell & Doire Press

Hard to believe this baby is nearly two years old!

Sinéad continues to host monthly readings at the Record Break Café tomorrow 1 June – with turns from yours truly and musician Brigid O’Neill, who is on a UK & Ireland tour at the moment.  Read more about Brigid here.

We will be splitting the time into fifteen minute slots – so I promise not to bore you with too much ‘recitation’! I’ve decided to read some short fiction too.

It’s a mix-it-up kinda gig!

Hope some of you can make it.

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

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.