And the craic was good …

Last winter I was awarded an Agility Award by the Arts Council of Ireland, which is helping me to research and make early drafts of my next poetry collection. I’m incredibly grateful as I wouldn’t have had the cash needed to fund what I hope to do: three short research stays in Dublin and two writing residencies over the coming year.

Surgery meant a delayed start to those plans, although I’ve been able to do online research and attend online lectures hosted by the Chester Beatty in Dublin – the subject of this project.

So, last week found me in Co Down in Northern Ireland, at the River Mill near Downpatrick. As I’ve discovered with other writing retreats, the best laid plans can often change once one gets one’s feet under the desk! I had an idea that I would work on a sequence for the book. Instead, I spent time putting online research in order – something that may appear to be procrastination, but it’s essential for accessing stuff easily. I created new work, possibly got another working title, and from that a new poem that (right now) I want to be the last poem in the book. This is a project where I want to stretch myself more; to be more fearless in how I approach shaping the ideas. I hope that I’ve begun that process in the past few days.

Looking forward to visiting the Meeting in Isfahan exhibition at the Chester Beatty later in the summer.
(c) Karen J McDonnell
Cosy bed and a lovely desk. I’ve asked Paul, who owns the River Mill, to give me first dibs if he’s ever getting rid of it!

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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.