Poetry to get you in a festive mood

Christmas Books
@ Karen J McDonnell

Next weekend I’ll be reading poetry for Christmas, and from This Little World.

Join me at the Ennis Bookshop on Sunday, 10 December. I’ll read a few of my own poems, and some poems I’ve chosen to get us into a festive mood. Dervilla has told me that I’ll be the first person to do a bit of poeting in the shop. I’m chuffed to have been asked.

So – why not get out of the bed a bit earlier and meet your gang for a nice brunch. Take in the Christmas lights and window displays in town. Then meander down to the bookshop for some poetry, and a good browse. You can even get some Christmas shopping done!

Time:   1.30pm, Sunday 10 December.   Venue: The Ennis Bookshop, Abbey Street, Ennis

(I heard a rumour that a box of Celebrations might be opened!)

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Go East, Poet, Go East!

And I am.

I’m heading across the Shannon, to Emo Court in Co. Laois, to take part in this lovely festival.

I’ll be reading with Denise Curtin and Paddy Moran, and there’ll be music from Gary Dunne.        Seamus Hosey will be putting manners on us all.  So, if you’re around the Laois area next Saturday, join us at 3pm in the Drawing Room.

Such a treat to be reading in a building as magnificent as Emo Court. Thanks to Muireann Ní Chonaill, Laois Arts Officer, for the invitation, and to the OPW for letting poets run loose in the place!

There’s lots of music over the weekend. There’s poetry on Friday from Jean O’Brien, Helen Ivory & Martin Figura, and on Saturday evening Kevin Barry & Lisa Harding will be chatting to Seán Rocks. You can view the full programme at http://www.laois.ie – Arts Office. Booking is on http://www.dunmaise.ie – Dunmaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise.

The Western Skyline Podcast – 04 November 2017

 

The Western Skyline was delighted to host two poets who have contributed to ‘Bosom Pals’ a new poetry collection by eight women who share their experience of breast cancer. ALL proceeds from the book go to Breast Cancer Research Ireland – a national organisation based in Galway. With a foreward by Prof. Michael Kerin and introduction by Áine Lawlor, this is a book to dip into alone, or to share with friends. You can buy it via breastcancerresearch.ie or at Charlie Byrnes in Galway. Kudos to editor Marie Cadden for making it all happen.
Music today from fab female singers: Sheryl Crow, Anastacia, Kylie, Marianne Faithful, & Carly Simon. The common thread? They have all survived breast cancer.
Enjoy the show!
And think about buying the book – it would make a great gift as we head towards Christmas.
Here are some links about the book:

YEATS! SOLD!!

Willy from George
© Sothebys

As I type, the Yeats Family Collection is being sold in Sothebys in London.

I was happy to be one of the signatories to Adrian Paterson’s letter to our Arts Minister, requesting that the State do something to keep the collection – or some of  it – in the country. Poetry Ireland was going over to London to bid for Yeats’s writing chair and desk. They’ve sold for much more than the estimates – so I’m not sure that they will be coming back to Ireland.

What is interesting is that the Olivia Shakespear letters failed to sell.  Will any of the Irish cultural institutions now step in and buy them, supported by the State … or by someone of a philanthropic nature?

Just as well I’m broke and can’t attend auctions.  I love ’em. I could do serious damage.

As it is, I got a bit carried away and leapt into action – even as the auction began. I rang Sothebys, got instructions, and emailed an absentee bid for a little silver box (photo above). It was a gift to WB from his wife, George.  Guiding £100-120, it sold for £3000.

Ah well.

Now, about those Persian tiles that failed to sell …

Culture Night & Che Guevara

A great weekend, altogether.

Last Friday was Culture Night in Ireland – and the goodies on offer were only legion!                       My contribution was reading poetry in two different parts of Clare.

Firstly the Clare Poetry Collective linked up for a reading in the Library in Ennis, with contributions from the floor, including Michéal FitzGearailt – a young man from whom we hope to hear more.

Then it was zoom! off in Might Aphrodite the Blue Polo, back to North Clare and the Salmon Bookshop & Literary Centre in Ennistymon. I joined Eleanor Cummins at 7pm for round two. The shop was cosy with rugs, and lovely lights, and the audience was warm and receptive. Everyone first said what their favourite poem was. Then Eleanor and I read some poems. Thanks Ellie, for having me over and, ‘Get Well Soon, Jessie!

Saturday saw me back in the car, motoring down along the coast to Kilkee. The Clare Poetry Collective had a gig at the Che Do Bheatha Festival.  Is it not the best name for a festival that you’ve ever heard?

Well, Irish people will get it.

Che mural , Kilkee
© Karen J McDonnell

The rain stayed away until we got into the Sweeney Library – which was fine with us.  We read turn and turn about, with contributions from the audience.  Thanks to Anne at the Library for delaying closing up until the last Che-themed poem was read! We really enjoyed ourselves, and it was lovely to meet up with friends from out Moyasta way.  A well-deserved chowder and brown bread in Bay View; where I stayed as a tiny tot with Grannie  (now changed, changed utterly!).  Then it was home again to the Burren.

All in all, a stimulating weekend. And lovely to be invited to participate. Thanks, lads.

Clifden Arts Festival – let’s be havin’ ya!

Photo © Clifden Arts Festival

 

The B&B has been organised, the snacks are being stockpiled, and the reading list is nearly complete!         CLIFDEN – Let’s be havin’ Ya!

On Wednesday 13 September 2017  I’ll be taking part in the Doire Press Readings – with writer Martin Malone   [click here for full details]

Venue: Clifden Library             Time: 4.00pm

I’ll be reading poems from This Little World  (Doire Press, 2017), and Martin will be reading fiction – I think!

If I’m lucky, I might get to meet Michael D. as he’s opening the Festival later in the evening. (We’re fierce casual with our President in this country!)

If you know anyone in Connemara who would like to come along … please pass along the details. Hell, come along and bring the clan with ya!

Major thanks to Brendan Flynn, and all the team, for the invitation. My first Clifden Arts Festival – and I get to read at it.

I’m a lucky woman.

 

The Western Skyline Podcast 09 September 2017

And here is the podcast of my latest show on Kinvara FM – Live 92.4FM from the studio in the village of Kinvara on Ireland’s Atlantic Coast.  Let me know where you’re listening in from – I’d love to hear from you!!

Yes we are shouting to the top this week: celebrating Galway’s hurling success.
Also celebrating some fine musicians and songwriters: Suzanne Vega, Neil Young, Adele, Stevie Wonder, The Style Council, The Police, Stevie Nicks … and others.
We preview Culture Night 2017, look at a volunteering opportunity, and there’s a poem for Autumn by Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz.
Hope you enjoy the show. Feedback and comments always welcome. And a follow or two would be great!

The Western Skyline Podcast 26 August 2017

Another podcast from my show with Kinvara FM. And we’re live on air now at 92.4fm  .

HUZZAH!

Tonii Kelly, the editor of Guaire Magazine in Gort joined us on The Western Skyline today to tell us about a new initiative to get the children of south Galway writing poetry and fiction. Tonii also spoke about the magazine, which celebrates Gort and the area around the town. Check out guaire.org for more details.
Music is from Ali Farka Toure & Ry Cooder, M People, Jambalaya Cajun Band, Youssou N’Dour, Andy Irvine & Paul Brady, Alan Stivell, De Dannan, Bruce Hornsby & The Range, and the Buena Vista Social Club.
There’s news of art exhibitions and a seaside installation. Don’t forget to contact kava@kinvara.com if you want to join the day trip to see the Vermeer Exhibition at the National Gallery.
We preview Muldoon’s Picnic, coming next Tuesday 29th to the Town Hall Theatre in Galway, and Moonfish Theatre Company’s production of Joseph O’Connor’s ‘Star of the Sea’ – also at the Town Hall Theatre on 1 & 2 September.
[Image c. Karen J McDonnell]

 

Poems On The Wireless #1

Recently, I brought ‘the childer’ up to Capital City!

A major trip for both me & and my poems. It was the first time I actually drove around Dublin.

I spent a very enjoyable time at RTÉ radio chatting to Seán Rocks on Arenaand reading a few poems from This Little World . The Arena team made the selection:  ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’ seems to appeal to a lot of people!

Anyhoo, if you’d like to hear it – here’s the link to the Arena podcast 28 July 2017

Thanks to everyone in Team Arena for the great welcome.

 

If it’s another Wednesday, it must be Bantry

West Cork Sunset
©Karen J McDonnell

I’ll be hoping for evenings like this next week when I head to Bantry – the lovely town situated between the Beara and Sheeps Head peninsulas.

I’ve been to the West Cork Literary Festival several times as part of the audience. This time – HUZZAH!! – I’m going as one of their featured writers. 

WCLF brochure. Artwork by William Crozier

I can’t wait to be there. WCLF is one of those events that has everything: a great line-up, a wonderful bunch of volunteers, a superb location, and a fantastic hinterland to explore when you get a bit of time off. If the weather is good – well, that’s a bonus.

I will be chatting to Eibhear Walshe, and reading from This Little World, at 11.30am in the Bantry Bookshop next Wednesday, 19 July. Thanks to Margaret and her staff for having us. If any of you are down for the Festival – please come, and say Hello!

This gets to be a bit of a working holiday for me. I’m taking an extra night off so that I can take in as much of the other writers’ events as possible. Lucky me.

We’re due a write-up about the whole book thing. Life in the book lane has been pretty fast and furious this past month. And, real life has also got in the way – as it does. I think time to regroup is in order; then I promise a ‘daycent’ sit-down-with-a-cuppa post over on the Writer’s Blog.

In the meantime – enjoy the summer, my lovelies. And if you want to purchase This Little World, please visit www.doirepress.com where Lisa & John will be only too happy to sell you a copy!

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