Thursday, 31 March 2016

Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Competition



This Competition has really grown since it started 10 years ago and now attracts entries from all over the world, becoming a much respected and anticipated event.

Poems may be on any subject but not more that 60 lines long. They must be accompanied by an entry form which is available to download from the Festival website

Fee: £5 each to enter.
Deadline: 17 June

The judges will chose a long list of about 40 poems which will be published in their annual Poet of the Year Anthology.  A shortlist is then selected and the poets are invited to read their work at the Awards Evening on Friday 7 October, when the winners will be announced.

The winning poet will received the University of Kent Prize of £200 and the title of Poet of the Year, second prize is £100 and third £50.  In addition the Best Read Poem, as read by the poet him or herself, receives a bottle of Sparkling Wine, and the People’s Choice, the audience’s favourite poem, receives £25.

So pull out those pens and start composing your odes, couplets, ballads and idylls, and send them to Tina at the Festival Office or tina@canterburyfestival.co.uk.

DOWNLOAD APPLICATION FORM

DOWNLOAD TERMS AND CONDITIONS

To find out more about last year's competition and to read the winning poem please click here

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Poetry & Politics Poetry Competition

Holland Park Press invite you to write a political poem

Task: The theme of this poetry competition is poetry and politics, so in order to enter your poem it must be about any aspect of politics. Your poem can be about international politics or instead be about something political much more closer to home. We don’t have to agree with your opinions, but we do want to be touched in some way by your poem, inspired by its imagery and, of course, we look for a beautiful use of language.

Prize: £200 and publication in the Holland Park Press online magazine
Length: 50 lines or less
Entry fee: none
Deadline: 31 August 2016

Eligibility: poems written in English by writers over 18 from any country

To submit: email your poem as a Word or PDF attachment to submissions@hollandparkpress.co.uk
Organizer: Holland Park Press

Webpage: complete guidelines are available from http://www.hollandparkpress.co.uk/magazine_detail.php?magazine_id=407&language=English where  you can also see some examples.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Clones Post Office 1916 Project: Postcard Competition

Deadline: 7 May 2016

Clones Post Office 1916 Project: Postcards 1916

Create a response to the 1916 Irish Proclamation for Independence (choose a phrase or a word ) in any media, visual or a written image

To request your pre -paid postcard email your name and address to monaghanartistcollective@gmail.com.

 Exhibition will be launched at the old post office Clones, (Clones Art Studios) The Diamond, Clones, Monaghan during the last week of May.

Exhibition is curated by Eileen Ferguson. www.clonesartstudios.com

Friday, 25 March 2016

Open Call | Cruthu Arts Festival, Longford

Deadline: 22 April 2016


Cruthú Arts Festival, in partnership with Ireland 2016 – Longford Steering Committee, invite all artists, writers, poets, digital artists, established and new, young and old to take part in an exciting visual arts and literature project.
This project is entitled ‘A Response to the Proclamation’. We are accepting poetry and stories up to a maximum of 1,500 words and artworks in any media including drawing, painting, photography, digital media, and 3D. The only restriction is that it is your own original work. For artwork please submit a proposal with images of previous work or image of submission if existing work. For written work please submit a Microsoft word or openoffice document.
Submissions will be evaluated by The Cruthú Arts Festival Committee and the successful final selection will be exhibited in a pop-up gallery as part of a larger visual arts programme for Cruthú Arts Festival, 28th to 31st July, 2016.
Please send all submissions by email to: cruthuartsfestival@gmail.com,
www.facebook.com/cruthuarts/?fref=nf

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

SCRIPTS Ireland’s Playwriting Festival seeks New Works

Playwrights can submit original 15 minute plays on the theme Changes for selection by Friday 8 April, 2016.Those selected will benefit from a professional development process where they will be mentored by professional playwright Eugene O' Brien in an exciting workshopping process.
Successful playwrights must be available to travel to Birr, Co. Offaly from Sunday 3 - Thursday 7 July to take part in the workshop process and attend the premiere on Saturday 9 July.

From 3-9 July 2016, the picturesque heritage town of Birr, Co. Offaly, a haven of Georgian elegance, will play host to an ensemble of playwrights, producers, actors and directors, all working towards one goal - to produce outstanding new Irish plays in seven fun-filled days!

THEME: The Festival sets a theme annually to stimulate an artistic response. This year the theme is CHANGES.

In an Ireland that supports marriage equality, in a time when the #WakingTheFeminists movement is making huge strides in women’s representation in theatre and in a world where art has the power to transform, it is clear that change is in the air. Social changes are affecting the world we live in and the impact ranges from subtle attitude adjustments to massive alterations in the way we live. Smaller, unseen changes are happening within us, and in our relationships with the people around us. The impact may be intricate and complex. Playwrights can interpret this theme as they see fit, and responses may range from addressing outward changes in the world to a more micro view of small changes within.

We look forward to reading authentic, unique, and well crafted plays that have the power to change. In the words of the late David Bowie, “Ch-ch-ch-changes, Turn and face the strange!”

PLAY LENGTH: Plays can be between 10-15 minutes in running time. Plays that go over 15

See www.scriptsireland.com for more info.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Interview with Writer Martina Reilly

Martina Reilly
Hi Martina and welcome to emergingwriter. How did you first get into writing and then plays?

I don’t think there was actually a time when I got ‘into’ writing, I just always wrote. It was instinctive for me to tell stories and write them down. I remember reading Enid Blyton when I was very young and thinking that that was what I wanted to do – create characters and plots that people would love. So I did.
My first books were about kids in a gang solving mysteries (I knew nothing about plagiarism back then!). The only thing was I couldn’t solve the mysteries I had created and so those books had to be abandoned. It was when I started writing about things I knew that I actually finished the books I started.
The first books I completed were the Gang books 1 -4 about a girl called Anne who moved to Dublin from Cork and made loads of new friends in her secondary school. By the end, she was married to one of the guys. Such dramatic tension!
Livewire – my very first published book – came out of these gang books. I wrote Livewire when I was fifteen and got it published about ten years later. 
Alongside all the story writing, I was also scribbling little plays for my friends. My mother enrolled us in drama class when I was about eight and I loved it. I loved the idea that stories could become 3D and that within a play, a person could become that brave/cool/funny person they kind of wanted to be in real life.
So, I suppose I was always writing a bit of everything.
I have turned some of my books into plays but Conquered Not Were We (my new play) could only ever have been a play. I say that because it’s a very visual experience and though words can paint pictures, this story gains so much more through lighting and movement.   

Tell me something about your new play. Where did the idea come from and how did you get it to be performed?

My new play is called Conquered Not We Were.  I first heard the story of the ‘Maynooth 15’ some years back, when a monument was being erected in Maynooth for the fifteen men of the town who took part in the Easter Rising in 1916. These men walked along the canal from Maynooth into Dublin, firstly spending the night in Glasnevin graveyard. On Tuesday, having finally arrived at the GPO, they were sent to Parliament Street to relieve the Evening Mail office. Here, they were engaged in battle, escaped and then spent the rest of the week in the GPO.
The motivation of each man interested me, the walk interested me, the idea that fifteen mostly ordinary men, who had never even handled a gun before that day should go and kill in the name of Ireland interested me. How did it feel? Was it worth it?
So of course, the anniversary of 1916 was the ideal time to turn my idea of site specific play that would take place whilst on a march into a reality.
An Nuadha Players in Maynooth supported me all the way.
It has been a monster roller-coaster so far. I have become writer, director and part producer! Funding was secured through Kildare County Council, Tesco, O’Neill’s Bar and through Insight Theatre group in Celbridge. Then permissions had to be sought to preform and march in all the areas we walk through – that’s St Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Maynooth Main Street, Carton Avenue and Carton House Hotel. And because it’s outdoor and mobile, no amount of rehearsing will prepare you for what might happen. That’s scary....

Did you have to do much research? How did you manage to get the period aspect in?

The research was enormous but at the same time there was a lot of material out there that I could work from. Some of the men had made statements to the military and all of them had applied for the pension – so I read their pension files. The staff in the National Library were fantastic with sites like findmypast.com proving to be invaluable for tracing Oliver Ryan’s story. I read old newspapers and every single book on 1916 that I could get my hands on.
I suppose being so absorbed in the research helped me get a feel for the period – I’m not saying that what I have done is perfect and I’m sure someone will discover an inaccuracy, but at the end of the day, it’s the human story I’m interested in more than authentic period details. If people are moved by what I have done, then I’ll be happy.

How did you get their voices?

I suppose I had actors in mind when I wrote the parts, so I wrote to their voices. Also, the pension files of the military are online now, so I looked up each man’s pension file and tried to gague how they sounded from their statements and the letters they wrote. Mainly though, I wrote for the actors.

It sounds fascinating. When is it on?

The play ‘Conquered Not Were We’ is on March 26th (5:45) and March 28th (6:45) starting from Maynooth College.

How does play writing differ from novel writing?

I am a natural novelist and I do find the writing of plays a little more difficult. I think it’s because typing in the name of who is speaking interrupts my flow of thought whereas a novel can be written as it plays out inside your head. (No pun intended!) I tend to see most stories in novel form as well.
However, what I do love about writing plays is the social aspect of it, the casting and the seeing it come to life under a director’s influence. For that to happen with a novel, I’d need someone to buy it but I live in hope!

What advice do you have for the new writers who might have an interest in writing plays.

My advice to any aspiring novelist or playwright is to have a vision of what you want and stick to it as much as you can. If you are passionate about what you do, you’ll make others care too.

Great advice. Thanks Very much Martina and I'm looking forward to seeing the play.

Martina has been writing since she was eight years old. To read all about Martina Reilly (aka Tina Reilly) have a look at her website where  there lots of information and news about her many many novels and other writing.  15 novels for adults translated into French, German, Latvian, Italian and Greek and 6 teen fiction books amongst others.Conquered not we were

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Reading in Stone House, Kilkenny

Kilkenny people, please come along on Monday night 21st March, 7pm to support your independent bookshop, writers and small publishers. And also hear some award winning poetry from poets Breda Wall Ryan, Kate Dempsey from Doire Press as well as Liam Ryan from Liberties Press.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Boyne Berries 1916 Launch

Boyne Berries 1916 will be launched by Gallery Press Poet Tom French.

http://www.gallerypress.com/authors/a-to-f/tom-french/

This issue commemorates the centenary of the 1916 rising. It features poetry and prose by members of the Boyne Writers Group as well as work by James Lawless, Deirdre Hines, Clare McCotter, Iseult Healy, Phelim Kavanagh, Amanda Bell, John Saunders, Andy Jones, Bernadette Gallagher, Patrick Devaney, Eamonn Lynskey, Peter Goulding, Tim Dwyer, Carolyne Van Der Meer, and more.

Castlearch Hotel, Trim, co Meath

Thursday 31st March 8pm.

All Welcome

5 × 7

Friday, 11 March 2016

Interview with poet, critic and journalist Gerard Smyth

Hello Gerard and welcome to emergingwriter. Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. The first question I am always curious how poets first got into poetry.


Poetry had its first stirrings in my life in a number of ways. I was a pre-Soundings schoolboy of the 1960s so the poets I encountered were mostly the English Romantics, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Matthew Arnold; also Shelley, Byron, Tennyson, a fair dose of Milton, and of course Shakespeare whose work even now continues to reveal itself in new ways. Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard had some claim on my heart. Yeats dominated the Irish side of things but we were also served up the 1916 poets, as well as other figures – Mangan, whose connection to my own Dublin locality appealed to me, also Ferguson, whose Lament for the death of Thomas Davis, was I think one of the prescribed poems, Padraic Colum,  James Stephens.
However, I think it was the soundscapes of Hopkins that particularly caught the attention of my ear, his way with words had a startling effect, it was exhilarating, of a different order to everyone else. Hopkins prepared me for Dylan Thomas who was certainly an influence on my own early efforts to the extent that one of the first critical comments on my apprentice poems picked out their technique as being “over indebted to that good poet but bad influence on young poets, Dylan Thomas”.
I was lucky to have an inspiring English teacher, Jack Hoey who simply radiated his love of language and made poetry “rise from the page”, as I described it years later in a poem in his memory.  I remain deeply grateful to him for making me aware of the value of poetry; his English classes had me enthralled – alas not the case with other subjects, except perhaps history.
Outside of school my poetry nurseries were two wonderful local libraries, Kevin Street and Thomas Street, where I was particularly drawn to the work of Dylan Thomas, the plays as well as the poems. I recall borrowing Under Milk Wood several times and wanting someday to write something like it.
But both libraries also had a good stock of the Dolmen editions and that was an introduction to the local contemporary scene, Austin Clarke, Montague , Pearse Hutchinson, but also Thomas Kinsella, whose influence on me would later override that of the Welsh poet. Very particularly I have never forgotten the detonation I experienced on first reading Kinsella’s Dick King – a poem set in the actual locale where I first read it and that was the eye-opening and liberating moment when poetry announced itself as something to be found on my own streets. Kinsella was significant in showing me (long before I tuned into Kavanagh ) how a poet should be earthed to his own place. I didn’t know it at the time but it was also one of the first poems to instruct me in the importance of poetry’s function of memorialising – “one of the things that art is for”, as Kinsella himself has quite rightly said.
In Grafton Street in those years there was a bookstore called the Eblana, which had a corner space where poetry was stocked. I used to slip in there and read what I could and slipped out again as a non-purchaser. When Derek Mahon’s debut collection Night-Crossing appeared  there it introduced a whole new dimension to my notions of what poetry could be.
I developed a short-lived infatuation with the Beat poets. But certainly one of the first poetry books that I bought was a Collected Dylan Thomas, that was in May 1969 – I still have it with the date inscribed. Also around the same time money from a part-time job went on a copy of Berryman’s His Toy, His Dream, His Rest.
Another factor, it has to be said, was the music that was in the air back then; the emergence of a generation of singer-songwriters whose lyrics aspired to the condition and gestures of poetry. All that prompted the urge to set down words in verse form and it was in 1968 that I made my own first attempts. I was 17 that summer and summers were usually spent away from Dublin with my grandmother in County Meath. A friend had given me a copy of the Penguin edition of the Liverpool poets and I had it with me. Roger McGough, Adrian Henri and Brian Patten. It was Patten’s voice – quiet, lyrical, passionate – that really appealed to me. That summer in Meath I wrote some verses that were, if nothing else, attempts at an imitation of Patten (possibly Kenneth Patchen too, who also come on to my radar).
Later that year, to my delight and astonishment, David Marcus, editor of the New Irish Writing page in The Irish Press, accepted five of them for publication and they appeared in the page in January 1969 – my first publication. To make it into New Irish Writing was regarded as some kind of achievement – especially when you see your work alongside a story by Elizabeth Bowen, which was quite a boost. Shortly after that James Simmons took a poem called Slowdance for The Honest Ulsterman. I had little sense that this was the beginning of a life in poetry – though I am hard put to see the merit in those early attempts now after a lifetime of reading and writing poetry and even in workshops daring to instruct others in what makes a good poem.
Meeting Michael Smith of New Writers’ Press was, I think, a key moment. Though meeting may not be quite the way to describe it – I simply landed on his doorstep one evening, a stranger wanting to meet the poet of the neighbourhood. I had come across some of the early NWP books in the local library – his own With the Woodnymphs, Trevor Joyce’s Sole Glum Trek, and the debut collection of Durcan and Brian Lynch, Endsville. What really came as a surprise was that there was a tree with poetry blossoming on its branches in my own backyard, so to speak. The press was located only a stone’s throw from where I lived in Francis Street.
Emboldened by my own appearance in print I made my way to Warrenmount to call on Michael and introduce myself and that started both a mentoring process that led to publication of my first collections, as well as a life-long friendship and a lifelong admiration for Michael’s own poetry and work as a translator. That was in January 1969 after my appearance in New Irish Writing.
Mike generously shared his own library and became my pathfinder, guiding me in the direction of numerous poets who were to become instructive in my understanding of the creative potential that poetry offered. Many of these poets were in translation from European languages. He was adamant about the importance of looking beyond the Irish, European and American traditions. He loaned me a copy of an anthology called Modern European Poetry which I carried around like a book of revelation. It opened a whole new world – Rilke, Quasimodo, Pasternak, Montale, Mandelshtam, Akhmatova, French surrealists, German expressionists and of course his own beloved Spanish poets – Lorca, Vallejo, Paz, Neruda, Machado –the last of whom was the one whose quiet qualities greatly appealed to me. I was also attracted to the rather melancholy world of Georg Trakl, his dark but beautiful and enigmatic lyrics.
I continued writing and Mike became my first reader – a man of often austere judgments but always encouraging and, looking back, I have to admit to being stubborn in the face of his critiques and suggestions and wish I had followed some of his directions at the time. I did later. In essence the point he kept making was that the richness of poetry was to be found in the everyday. I think I foolishly started out with some notion that poetry could only be created from the elevated themes and subjects, an idea that probably had it origination in the school classroom.
I generally hung out at New Writers’ Press – and helped to hand-set a few of the publications: there was an edition of Borges, Michael Hartnett’s The Hag of Beare, a Jack Spicer book.  There was of course a social and drinking side to it to – and it was in that milieu that I first met other poets: Hartnett, James Liddy, Brian Lynch, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain and Macdara Woods. Durcan too and, on one occasion in the house in Warrenmount Place, Austin Clarke – then a quite venerable figure in Irish poetry and I was dumbstruck in the great presence.  Liddy introduced me to McDaids which was then still Dublin’s literary watering hole, but I had just missed the Kavanagh era, though the legends were being handed on and something of the aura hadn’t quite gone to the grave with him but was hanging around Grafton street. 
It was around this time, too, that Mike and Trevor Joyce launched The Lace Curtain which over only a few issues published most of the mainstream poets of the time as well as championing a revival of the reputations of the Thirties poets, particularly Brian Coffey and Thomas MacGreevy, the latter has always fascinated me and I just wish there had been more poems.
So it was a further boost to have work appear in the journal – though they were not poems I would care to have presented back to me today. In December of 1969 the press brought out my first small collection, The Flags are Quiet. It’s appearance in the window of the Eblana Bookshop, which I mentioned earlier, was akin to a rite-of-passage moment. 
I think most recent poets in Ireland don’t have much of a clue about how the poetry community worked when you were starting out. Was there an Arts Council or Poetry Ireland at the time? What else was around?
GS: Yes, the Arts Council was in existence but not Poetry Ireland which came much later when John F Deane, who was also an encouraging and generous contributor to my development, set it up. The council, much different and leaner to what we have today, was supportive of poetry publishing. The main publisher of Irish poetry then was Liam Miller’s Dolmen Press, bringing out work by the likes of Kinsella and Montague, Liddy and Hutchinson and most importantly revitalising the career of Austin Clarke.
Around the time my first small chapbook appeared from New Writers’ Press I was introduced to the author Mervyn Wall who was AC director. For young poets back then – and short story writers too – having work accepted by David Marcus for his New Irish Writing page of the Irish Press newspaper signalled a particular moment of sanction. This was the case for many of my own contemporaries. All of us, and I could name several, owe him much gratitude not just for bringing the work to a public audience but for the good counsel he provided in correspondence. David continued to publish my poems into the 1980s, though he correctly sent back more than a few rejections – always with good advice about the flaws and failures he saw in the work as it progressed.
There were magazines around, Poetry Ireland Review in one of its earlier incarnations, The Dublin Magazine and the Kilkenny Magazine. The Honest Ulsterman had started in the North and its then editor James Simmons was, as I said earlier, the second editor to accept a poem of mine. That too was in 1969. St Stephens was coming out in UCD – and although it may have seemed like a student magazine I still have my contributor’s copy that also carried work by Desmond Hogan, Gerard Fanning, Richard Ryan, John Boland.
Another distinctive, you could even say iconoclastic, addition to the magazine scene around the same time was Peter Fallon’s Capella, all it editions with terrific graphic art covers by the artist Jim Fitzgerald. As well as local poets Peter was looking outside of Ireland and issues had the likes of the Liverpool poets, Ginsberg, Michael Horovitz, Barry MacSweeney, a significant and influential English poet of the time, the Greek poet Radnotti and in one issue the lyrics of the singer Al Stewart. Brian Patten was a poet I particularly admired, and still do, and it was a particular delight to find myself positioned alongside him in the pages of Capella. As well as heralding a new energy in poetry that  magazine was the first stepping stone on Peter’s way to creating Gallery Press.
My first reading was in the upstairs lounge of Sinnots pub in South King Street – not the one there now but its predecessor. Regular readings were run by the poets Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, Pearse Hutchinson, Macdara Woods and Leland Bardwell – the four of whom went on to establish Cyphers in 1975 -  thankfully it has been consistent all the years since and that journal has survived and continues to appear thanks to the dedication of its editors. Those Sinnots readings were another rite-of-passage for a young poet.
Do you review poetry or have you? Poetry is still a small world, and was even smaller at the time you have been talking about.
Yes, occasionally I will review a volume but, to be honest, won’t now take on a review it unless I am enthusiastic about the work, and can be positive about it or feel some affinity with the poet or, as in some cases, believe the work of a certain writer has been neglected or fallen under the radar.
Many years ago, in the late 1970s and into early 1980s, I acted as a kind of regular poetry critic for The Irish Times. I have always been grateful to the then literary editor Brian Fallon for his faith in me as a reviewer and for giving me the opportunity to try out my critical responses to work. I remember years later having a conversation with the late, much-missed Dennis O’Driscoll about those reviews and telling him how much I regretted things I said in some of them, responding as I did then with the arrogance and know-it-all of youth – something I detect and dislike about some younger critics now.
In just such a state of opinionated self-regard I made some dismissive comment or other about a very senior and respected poet that elicited from the then editor of the Irish Times Douglas Gageby the comment Wait till he gets his hands on your next book. And in an extraordinary twist the same poet did get my next book to review for another publication but gave it the kind of review any young poet would wish for. He also gave me a lesson in the generosity of spirit that reviewing requires. That of course also illustrates how we operate in a very small pool, with poets reviewing poet-friends. Though this seems to be far more endemic in fiction circles these days.
Of course a review has to be honest and in the cause of novice poets, helpful to the poet who may or may not welcome critical comment. Certain allowance has to be made for the marks of a beginner, though a good critic will know instinctively whether the beginner has what it takes to keep going. But there is nothing dishonourable about bringing some sensitivity to what has to be said, and especially how it is said. Of course any review will carry the attitudes of the reviewer, that is unavoidable – that is fine, a review with an agenda is another matter.
Which writers do you think have been neglected? Why do you think that happens?
Every generation produces its share of forgotten and neglected writers. And of course some simply go out of fashion. In a survey of neglected writers many years ago I nominated Denis Devlin as a much neglected writer who deserved a restoration of his literary reputation. Now, the figure from that Thirties generation for whose work I have the highest regard – and there is only a very small corpus of it – is Thomas MacGreevy, an odd maverick figure in poetry.  His work does turn up in the odd anthology but overall he is kept very much in the backroom of poetry, like his fellow “modernists” of that period.
When I was rereading poets for the anthology of Dublin poems I co-edited with Pat Boran, it struck me that the work of Austin Clarke probably does not receive the esteem it deserves. Although he has been on school curricula and championed by perceptive critics such as Maurice Harmon and Christopher Ricks, I sense he is possibly now viewed as being outdated, to which I say au contraire  – long before the hidden Ireland of the time was exposed Clarke was speaking out in his poems and satires about the cruelties in schools and orphanages, the abuses of clerical authority, the moral issues of Catholic conscience, the plight of unmarried mothers, the issue of priestly celibacy, the bigotries of the devout, and the censorship laws.
Clarke’s magnificent burst of late creativity was astonishing, what we all wish for perhaps - his poems of indignation and rage at the political and social failures of a state that disappointed him made him our greatest satirist after Swift. His Mnemosyne Lay in Dust as well as its distinction as a magnificent meditation on a personal breakdown also holds a place as an important social document, a journey into the heart of darkness of the Ireland of that period of history. Apart from that he is, for me, an essential Dublin poet, the father of those of us who have taken up the city as a theme in our work. 
Two woman writers Rhoda Coghill and Sheila Wingfield (Viscountess Powerscourt) were rarities in the male-dominated world of Irish poetry in the 30s, 40s and 50s – with Wingfield in particular attracting the praise of critics and successfully sustaining a publishing career. Her first collection appeared in 1938 and in the 70s and 80s the Dolmen Press continued to publish her. Often informed by her classical readings, her poems had the mark of a striking originality and in the best of them she achieved an economy of crystalline language. As well as a command of the condensed lyric, she achieved mastery of the longer form in Beat Drum, Beat Heart, praised by Sir Herbert Read as “the most sustained meditation on war written in our time”.
Yet the recognition they both deserved never quite came their way. While Wingfield’s poetry was reissued a few years ago her life was revisited in an RTE documentary, Coghill completely disappeared off the poetry radar as far as I could ascertain when scouting around for work to include in  the anthology.  There are others – Eugene Watters (who also wrote under the name Eoghan O Tuairisc ) who at least should be known for the brilliantly constructed narrative poem The Weekend of Dermot and Grace; Padraic Fallon, F R Higgins, the great Cork and Belfast mavericks Patrick Galvin and Padraic Fiacc, each of them now under-appreciated because they are considered to be out of rhyme with current fashions; the list could go on.
Sadly I think two of my contemporaries, Sean Dunne and Michael Hartnett, both of whom died far too early, were underrated in their lifetimes and remain so today. Both of them were rare in that from the off they were surefooted in the craft and landed fully formed, not much in the way of apprentice work.
I think I have to conclude with this quote from W S Merwin’s poem recalling advice he received from John Berryman.

I asked how can you be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can’t

you can’t you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don’t write. 

(from “Berryman” by W S Merwin )
Gerard Smyth is poet, critic and journalist. He has published eight collections of poetry, including, A Song of Elsewhere ( Dedalus Press 2015), and The Fullness of Time: New and Selected Poems ( Dedalus Press, 2010 ). A sequence of poems in response to 1916, After Easter, with a drawing by artist Brian Maguire, was published in a limited edition by The Salvage Press in 2016. A new collection, The Yellow River,   with a series of paintings and drawings by Sean McSweeney, will be published by Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, in 2017 in conjunction with an exhibition of the work of poet and artist in the centre. He was the 2012 recipient of the O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award presented by the University of St Thomas in Minnesota and is co-editor, with Pat Boran, of If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song ( Dedalus Press ) which was Dublin’s One City One Book in 2013. He is a member of Aosdána and Poetry Editor of The Irish Times.


Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Abridged 0 - 45: Why is it always December? Submission Call

After Lethe and Floodland comes ‘Why is always December?’ the third of our (very loose) trilogy exploring oblivion, memory and the fear of losing identity. Why is it always December? interrogates our need to memorialise even the most slightest thing. Social media allows us to share even the most banal aspect of our existence creating for us personas that beg for connectivity, that fear of being alone, indeed that are absolutely incapable of being alone without informing the world of the fact. The private and the public are now one and the same, every portrait a self-portrait. Our biographies now selfies; intimacy now a need for infinite verification, to be ‘liked’ and applauded by friends, ‘virtual’-friends and strangers so that our immortality is assured. It’s as if we are afraid that silence or invisibility equates with not existing or non-being. Our constant and continual commemoration and celebration occurs not because we are necessarily happy but because we fear that things will end. Memory becomes microscopic yet somehow concurrently mythic.
Abridged in 0 – 45: Why is it always December? explores the fear that we will be forgotten and the need for continual celebration and remembrance. Submissions may be up to three poems and can be sent to abridged@ymail.com For this issue poetry only is required.
Deadline is 17th March 2016.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Bare Hands Magazine open for submissions


The beautiful new Issue 20 of Bare Hands is now online. Featuring poetry from Simon Lewis, Jackie Gorman, Ciaran Hodgers, Laura-Blaise McDowell, Stephanie Conn, Kathy D'Arcy, Alicia Byrne Keane & James O' Leary along with photography from Simon Prunty, Rafael Joaquin, Miroslav R. Mitrovic, John Iona, Tiffany Hearsey, Fran Rodriguez, Clare Coyle & non-fiction from D.F. 
Read it here.

They are now open for submissions to Issue 21. They say:
We seek work that is beautiful and different
Deadline: March 31st 
Check out the submission guidelines here

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Artist Engagement Programme with Kerry County Council - Writer in Residence

One with a close deadline: 4.00pm on March 10th 2016

Kerry County Council, in partnership with the Arts Council of Ireland, wishes to contract a Writer as part of its Artist Engagement Programme for 2016.

The Residency will be a part-time position (20 hour week - 7 hours of which is for the Writer’s own work development) which will allow time both for the writer’s own work in addition to engagement and interaction with the general public and more specifically with people interested in writing themselves.

It is intended that the writer will have a room available to them at Kerry County Museum in Tralee for their own writing hours as well as office administrative support at the Arts Office, Kerry County Council, Tralee.

The Residency is open to writers in all genres, and should have a countywide impact. As part of this Residency, the successful applicant will be asked to stimulate greater awareness of the art of creative writing as well as encouraging more opportunities for people to engage with the work of writers. The writer’s ability to mentor up-coming writers, young people and those interested in developing their writing skills must be clearly demonstrated in the application material.

The residency this year will focus on the theme of County Kerry from 1916 to 2016. This theme can be explored through a wide range of possible approaches. 

  

In the past, writers in residence have engaged with schools and writers groups and have organised workshops and engaged in one-to-one discussions with writers in the area. The Arts Office is open to new approaches and responses around the public engagement aspect for this residency.

Application Requirements 

Applicants are asked to submit the following material:
  • A typed curriculum vitae (maximum 3 pages)
  • Examples of previous work
  • Publications, programmes or published articles, such as reviews
  • A typed proposal outlining artistic ideas and approaches (two typed pages); this should include an outline of the benefits of the residency to her/his stage of development as a writer, and ideas in relation to public engagement during the residency with detailed suggestions for workshops or public/community engagement
  • Two letters of reference 
 Criteria for Selection
  • Irish citizen / permanent resident of Ireland
  • Active in the writing profession
  • Artistic merit and distinctiveness of proposal
  • Balance of same to reflect the 50/50 expected outcomes
  • Suitability of the proposal
  • Quality of previous work
  • Experience in teaching creative writing preferred
  • Experience developing and successfully delivering programs, workshops, and readings
Shortlisted applicants will be called for interview in April 2016.

Budget

The total budget for the residency is €14,400.  

Applications should be submitted to:
Writer in Residence
The Arts Office
Kerry County Council
Rathass
Tralee
County Kerry

Please refer any queries to Kate Kennelly, Arts Officer on 066 71 83541 or email arts@kerrycoco.ie

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Bray Arts Show

Breda Wall Ryan and Kate Dempsey - Poetry
Two award-winning leading international poets broadcast and published in many journals in Ireland and abroad will illustrate the best of their celebrated works and creative writing

Darragh Muldowney - Photographer
With an astounding slideshow on the making of ‘Out of Thin Air’ sailing all the way to Greenland to capture images of the surreal nature of the glacier and exquisite ice sculptures

Bray Arts Drama Group– Albert – a hilarious one act comedy
Fiona Keane, Simon Maxwell, Martin Davidson desperately trying to understand without a word in common and an unexpected outcome, directed by Derek Pullen and stage manager Lucy Lynch

Admission €5
The Martello Hotel, Bray 8pm

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Submissions sought for The Level Crossing magazine

Dedalus Press is looking for previously unpublished poems for a feature in its new occasional journal, THE LEVEL CROSSING.
  • Theme: Poems on the subject of place (home place, strange place, imagined place …) 
  • Length: a maximum of 20 lines
  • Form: Poems may be in any form. Prose poems are welcome. 
  • Poets may submit up to three poems each, but no poet will have more than one poem chosen for publication.
  • They pay a one-time fee of €30 for each poem published.
The feature will appear in THE LEVEL CROSSING, number 1, in both print and download editions (the latter available free from the Dedalus website) in April/May 2016; a selection will also feature on the Dedalus blog at the same time.
Deadline: End March 2016 
Submissions may be made only through Submittable.com
To ensure a fair and unbiased reading of all submitted work, the author’s name should NOT appear on the uploaded text file but only in the online Contact form.